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Robert Murphy

Jonathan Rosenbaum,’Raymond Durgnat’, and Raymond Durgnat, ‘Apologia and Auto-Critique’, Film Comment (May 1973), pp. 65–9; and ‘Critical Debates’, ch. 3 of Robert Murphy’s Sixties British Cinema (British Film Institute, 1992). 9 Lawrence Alloway, ‘The Long Front of Culture’, Cambridge Opinion 17

in British cinema of the 1950s
A celebration

This book offers a startling re-evaluation of what has until now been seen as the most critically lacklustre period of the British film history. It includes fresh assessment of maverick directors; Pat Jackson, Robert Hamer and Joseph Losey, and even of a maverick critic Raymond Durgnat. The book features personal insights from those inidividually implicated in 1950s cinema; Corin Redgrave on Michael Redgrave, Isabel Quigly on film reviewing, and Bryony Dixon of the BFI on archiving and preservation. A classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity. Raymond Durgnat's A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence, which deals extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. In a 1947 article called 'Angles of Approach' Lindsay Anderson delivered a fierce attack on contemporary British film culture, outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics . The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. The book also talks about the Festival of Britain, White Corridors, and four Hamer's post-Ealing films: The Spider and the Fly, The Long Memory, Father Brown and The Scapegoat. A number of factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history.

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Portrayals of the working-class family
Philip Gillett

Gilliat, who wrote the script in addition to directing. He records that the flashback element was to lead audiences back into the blitz, which had been over for a year. It had resumed by the time the film was released, rendering the device unnecessary. 6 Raymond Durgnat seems to have strayed into a different film when he describes Sim as the crooked doctor helping the spiv to seduce Jim’s wife (Rosamund John

in The British working class in postwar film
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Peter William Evans

indicate, consciously or unconsciously, either a search for or a willingness to accept commissions for films concerned with loss, destabilised or marginalised characters, and difference and otherness, tendencies that led Raymond Durgnat to classify Reed as ‘the most imposing pessimist’ of the British cinema ( 1971 : 166). Threaded into these larger patterns is his added fondness for loose ends, folly, and the condemnation of characters who

in Carol Reed
Philip Gillett

remedied in the subsequent Huggett series. The name of Ted Willis keeps recurring in film credits. Though his leadership of Unity Theatre ended in acrimony and recrimination, his continuing sympathy with working people shines through the films which he scripted, even if cosiness crept into George Dixon’s television reincarnation at Dock Green. 11 For Raymond Durgnat, ‘Too many of Ted’s nice people are just

in The British working class in postwar film
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Andrew Roberts

the 1990s, the reaction of one academic to the mere suggestion of parallels between El espíritu de la colmena (Victor Erice 1973) and Whistle Down the Wind (Forbes 1961) was akin to a H. E. Bateman cartoon. And this tome is but a further illustration of how such performers could serve as ‘the repository of currents of feeling’ (Smith 2008 : n.p.). Raymond Durgnat believed that post-war British cinema often depended on ‘not concepts, which hardly appear, but atmosphere’ ( 1970 : 9). Each of the actors discussed in this book were essential elements in the

in Idols of the Odeons
Brian McFarlane

disruptive trains and stations have been for Laura. The idea of the railway station as a place of meetings and departures has figured in many of the films referred to in this book, especially in Chapter 6 . More so than airports or bus stops, railway stations allow close-ups of those meetings and, especially, departures, after which there is a curious sense of desolation when the person farewelling is left on the empty platform. As Raymond Durgnat wrote of railway stations: ‘From the platform the rails stretch away. Even when the terminal is a

in The never-ending Brief Encounter
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National cinema and unstable genres
Valentina Vitali

enough in Terence Fisher to produce a book and enough of a market for such a book, were it produced’.1 That same year Raymond Durgnat, a contributor to the Movie Paperback series, devoted half a chapter of his A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence to a critical appraisal of Terence Fisher’s work for Hammer Films, which sought to situate Fisher’s horror films in the context of contemporary British culture. This was followed three years later by David Pirie’s now classic A Heritage of Horror: the English Gothic Cinema 1946–1972. It was

in Capital and popular cinema
Philip Gillett

more optimistic, though he has his detractors. 13 Film offers a contemporaneous view of events – a view which could sway public opinion. The work of socialists like the Boulting brothers or Ted Willis can be considered from this viewpoint. A final objective is to test received opinion. Raymond Durgnat’s attitude to class in film is summed up in his idiosyncratic but indispensable A Mirror for England: ‘A middle-class cinema

in The British working class in postwar film
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John Gibbs

imagine today. The chapter moves between a selection of important but little known articles, drawing out a series of debates around the challenge provoked by Oxford Opinion, and encounters important writing from V.F. Perkins, Robin Wood, Paddy Whannel and Charles Barr. The chapter also draws on a witty article by Raymond Durgnat from 1963, ‘Standing Up for Jesus!’, as a form of contemporary meta-­ commentary. The films of Nicholas Ray continue to be a point of reference as his work of the late 1950s became a major subject of the debate. Movie is the journal which offers

in The life of mise-en-scène