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Corin Redgrave

I N 1958 MICHAEL REDGRAVE was appearing for the third and last time at Stratford-upon-Avon. The parts he played that year were Hamlet and Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing . Hamlet was a brave choice. My father was by then 50. In an age less fearful than ours of growing old, great actors like Sir John Martin Harvey had been able to make a lifetime’s work out of a part like Sidney Carton in A

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.

Sarah Easen

white art films, each under ten minutes long, was produced by the British animators John Halas and Joy Batchelor. Artists including Mervyn Peake, Henry Moore and Ronald Searle created visual impressions of eight poems, narrated by performers such as Michael Redgrave, John Laurie, Eric Portman and Stanley Holloway. It was recognised that the films were ‘agreeable and enterprising [and that] they illustrate some of the

in British cinema of the 1950s
The Spanish Gardener and its analogues
Alison Platt

Browning Version (1951), where the desiccated classics teacher Mr Crocker-Harris (Michael Redgrave) finds himself, at the very end of a long and undistinguished career, unable to say, like Mr Chips, that he had many children ‘and all of them boys’. In fact it is this recognition of his inability to ‘father’ that causes him such regret. His pupils refer to him as being already dead, his unfulfilled wife

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
The early British films of Joseph Losey
Neil Sinyard

, that time was running out. Time Without Pity is the early film of Losey’s that particularly catches his peculiar qualities. Like its companion film of the same year, J. Lee Thompson’s Yield to the Night (1956), it is a plea for the abolition of capital punishment, as an alcoholic writer (Michael Redgrave) is given less than twenty-four hours to save his son (Alec McCowen

in British cinema of the 1950s
Ian Mackillop
Neil Sinyard

appropriate correlative to a reticence of temperament: when Anthony Asquith shoots the emotional breakdown of the repressed schoolmaster Crocker-Harris (Michael Redgrave) in The Browning Version from behind his back, one senses a perfectly appropriate visual respect for the character’s private pain, for the man’s sense of shame at this ungentlemanly release of tears that must be hidden from view. (Corin Redgrave discusses this

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
Fixing the past in English war films
Fred Inglis

suspense caused by bad weather and fog, the men are duly rescued from under the coastline guns of the enemy as they drift towards the Belgian shore. The substance of the film, however, is the little class struggle played out by the four men as, drenched, bitter cold, thirsty and wounded, they cling to hope of safety while at the same time bracing themselves to disappointment by keeping hope down. Michael

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
Royal weddings and the media promotion of British fashion
Jo Stephenson

stage and screen actor Michael Redgrave. But it is the evocative nature of the constructed narrative of the film that really sets it apart from its predecessors. Poetic recitation throughout the film of the lines ‘Sing a Song of London’ and ‘May Wedding’ is not required for journalistic purposes. Such emotive techniques are designed to enhance the audience’s responses, pointing forward to the more subtle

in The British monarchy on screen