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.
Sequence and the rise of auteurism in 1950s Britain
date. In a 1947 article called ‘Angles of Approach’ Anderson
delivered a fierce attack on contemporary Britishfilmculture,
outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with
what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics. 11 On the role of film
criticism, Anderson wrote: ‘It is the critic’s first duty
(and in this sense we are all critics) to perceive the object of a film
James Chapman, ‘Films and Flea-Pits: The
Smallest Show on Earth’, in Alan Burton, Tim O’ Sullivan
and Paul Wells (eds), Liberal Directions: Basil Dearden and
Postwar BritishFilmCulture (Flicks Books, 1997), p.
Louis Althusser, Essays on Ideology
indulged Hollywood counterparts, but makes no attempt to disguise the
thin soil of Britishfilmculture. While restoring Powell and
Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) to its rightful
place as a minor classic, and acknowledging the brilliance of
Heckroth’s designs, he exposes the wobbly philosophical
underpinning upon which it is constructed
technology. See Alan Burton’s article ‘Seeing is
Believing: The Magic Box ’ in Alan Burton et al.
(eds), The Family Way: The Boulting Brothers and BritishFilmCulture (Flicks Books, 2000), pp. 164–8.
See Michael Chanan, The Dream That Kicks
(Routledge, 1996), pp. 92
position in Britishfilmculture of some symbolic importance and
one that no other English director at the time could precisely match. In
one way, his career was symptomatic of certain fundamental flaws in the
industry. Because of his experience with Hammer studios and their
tawdry, delayed release of The Damned , and because of his
difficulties with Rank and their obstructiveness on The Gypsy and the