British National Cinema (National Cinemas)

British National Cinema (National Cinemas)

Sarah Street

Language: English

Pages: 295

ISBN: 0415067367

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

With films as diverse as Bhaji on the Beach, The Dam Busters, Trainspotting, The Draughtsman’s Contract, Prick Up Your Ears, Ratcatcher, This Is England and Atonement, British cinema has produced wide-ranging notions of British culture, identity and nationhood. British National Cinema is a comprehensive introduction to the British film industry within an economic, political and social context.

British National Cinema
analyzes the politics of film and establishes the difficult context within which British producers and directors have worked. Sarah Street questions why British film-making, production and distribution have always been subject to government apathy and financial stringency. In a comparison of Britain and Hollywood, the author asks to what extent was there a ‘star system’ in Britain and what was its real historical and social function. An examination of genres associated with British film, such as Ealing comedies, Hammer horror, ‘heritage’ films and hybrid forms, confirms the eclectic nature of British cinema. In a final evaluation of British film, she examines the existence of ‘other cinemas’: film-making which challenges the traditional concept of cinema and operates outside mainstream structures in order to deconstruct and replace classical styles and conventions.

Illustrated with over thirty stills from classic British films, British National Cinema provides an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the fascinating development of British cinema.

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Have been many interesting representations that challenge the notion that the only films that do well at the box-office or which can be exported reflect very restricted and class-bound notions of ‘Britishness’. As ever, film history is instructive in explaining the origins of the industry’s vulnerability to market forces and tendency towards cycles of boom followed by slump. Success or failure all too often seems to be contingent on external economic factors including balance of payments, tax.

Its powers were not extended. Wilson 34 British national cinema established a Working Party in August 1975 which repeated his 1949 recommendation for a British Film Authority, but yet again the idea was shelved. However, the work of the NFFC’s successor, British Screen, provided some grounds for optimism, even though it was a much more commercially dominated body. Petrie (1991: 86–90) has argued that British Screen operated on more realistic, commercial lines than the NFFC which only supplied.

Cinema in the 1930s, not only in its aspirations as a film that would export well to America, but also for its affinities to European cinema. This increasingly internationalist trend was already evident in the late 1920s when, for example, German director E. A. Dupont, came to Britain to direct Moulin Rouge (1928) and Piccadilly (1929), two prestigious productions, the latter starring Anna May Wong, the Chinese-American actress who also starred in Hollywood silent Studios, directors and genres.

Made. Peeping Tom concerned filmic self-reflexivity which had never been a dominant strain of classic Hammer horror. Along with two other horror films produced by Anglo-Amalgamated – Horrors of the Black Museum (Arthur Crabtree, 1959) and Circus of Horrors (Sidney Hayers, 1960) – Peeping Tom picks up on a fascination with its own vision/ look which was evident to a lesser degree in Dead of Night. In this sense, the spectator is implicated as a participant observer of the horrors depicted on.

Information which conflicted with her highly respectable reputation on celluloid. Gossip columns rarely mentioned Neagle or discussed her in sexual terms, reassuring the public that good British girls were not ‘like that’. Much was made in publicity of her modest personality and rags-to-riches story, her humble Forest Gate, London origins and rise to fame from the chorus. Picturegoer’s accounts of her early career stressed her ambition and determination to be on the stage and reminded readers.

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