Search results

The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, in reality Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet, is a character who decisively fixed the image of the French Revolution in the minds of successive generations of British readers. The books, the play and later the films charting his adventures established beyond doubt that the French revolutionaries were a bloodthirsty, beastly, ungentlemanly mob and that a well-brought-up aristocrat could run rings round them, particularly if he

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
Abstract only

2 Fantasy factories The success of The Adventures of Robin Hood is often credited with inaugurating the cycle of costume adventure series that followed in the late 1950s. This was the ‘golden age’ of the television swashbuckler as a cycle of adventure series came forth from the British studios at Nettlefold, Twickenham and Elstree: The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The Buccaneers, Sword of Freedom, William Tell, Sir Francis Drake. ITP, which had a hand in all those series, led the way, though

in Swashbucklers
Abstract only

Introduction The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The Buccaneers, Sword of Freedom, Zorro, Ivanhoe, William Tell, Sir Francis Drake, The Black Arrow, Arthur of the Britons, Dick Turpin, Robin of Sherwood, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sharpe, Hornblower … Swashbucklers  – in their various guises  – have been a feature of the television landscape for over half a century. Since the emergence of the genre in the 1950s there has been a long and distinguished tradition of costume adventure series chronicling the exploits of

in Swashbucklers
Abstract only

gathered pace in the 1980s with new films of Ivanhoe, The Scarlet Pimpernel – both starring Anthony Andrews – and The Corsican Brothers, all backed by US networks. It continued into the 1990s with Sharpe and Hornblower, two British-made series produced as feature-length films, and a definitive French mini-series of The Count of Monte Cristo in 1998. As ever this trend needs to be understood in its institutional and cultural contexts. The increasing costs of production in the 1980s had made the swashbuckler economically unviable in the traditional episodic format – the

in Swashbucklers

6 Millennial mavericks While the heritage swashbuckler predominated during the 1980s and 1990s, another trend, which started on US cable television in the early 1990s, was the emergence of what, for want of a better term, might be called the postmodern swashbuckler. The postmodern swashbuckling cycle began with a remake of Zorro and continued with The New Adventures of Robin Hood and Queen of Swords  – all produced by North American cable networks – and then crossed over onto British television with the BBC’s remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel in the late 1990s

in Swashbucklers
Abstract only

such as monarchy and the Church. The swashbuckling hero may act to protect the throne of an absent king (The Adventures of Robin Hood) or to assert monarchical authority over the realm (The Adventures of Sir Lancelot). He may be defender of the king (The Three Musketeers), a saviour of the aristocracy (The Scarlet Pimpernel) or a protector of the rights of the landed classes (Zorro). Its promotion of an ethos of chivalry, honour, duty and social responsibility has led to the swashbuckler sometimes being regarded as a residual genre whose values are rooted in the past

in Swashbucklers
Abstract only

age of British films: for while it did six British films from the 1930s ( The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Thirty Nine Steps, Pygmalion, Sorrell and Son, The Sidewalks of London (UK title: St. Martin’s Lane ) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips ) and four from the 1950s ( The Browning Version, The Winslow Boy, Breaking the Sound Barrier and The Mudlark ), it did eight from the 1940s and five of them were done twice – Brief Encounter, The Seventh Veil, Great Expectations

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60

Productions (run by American brothers Edward J. and Harry Lee Danziger) and George King Productions (King had been a prolific director of ‘quota quickies’ in the 1930s, who moved into television in the 1950s). Towers produced The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1955), another costume adventure series that aired during ITV’s first week, while the Danzigers, specialists in lowbudget crime films, turned their hands to television with Mark Saber (1954–55) and The Man from Interpol (1959–60).7 While the funding arrangements varied, the usual model was for a series to be

in Swashbucklers

values, scenic locations, cinematic photography and fidelity to the source text, Kidnapped can be seen as an early example of the ‘heritage swashbuckler’ that was to emerge in the 1980s with sumptuous television films of Ivanhoe and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Decourt’s direction, despite Graham Scott’s misgivings, is highly pictorialist, showcasing the Revisionist revivals   129 landscapes to good effect. Kidnapped is a story in which landscape plays an important role: David Balfour’s journey involves crossing the geographical and social spaces of the Highlands in his

in Swashbucklers