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Great British Movies [Secure eReader]
eBook by Don Shiach

eBook Category: Sports/Entertainment/Sports/Entertainment
eBook Description: Which British movies are the best that this country has produced? In this volume Don Shiach encapsulates the peaks of the British film achievement from the beginning of the sound era to the first decade of the 21st century. The giant figures of the 1930s, Alfred Hitchcock and Alexander Korda, set a standard for the domestic film industry in its attempt to challenge the domination of the Hollywood film. Many saw the 1940s as the Golden Age of British cinema with directors such as Carol Reed and Michael Powell leading the way in establishing British cinema as worthy of serious consideration. From then on there were as many troughs as there were triumphs, but the industry continues to produce the odd masterpiece to extend the great tradition. Covering The Third Man, Black Narcissus, Lawrence of Arabia, Carol Reed, Alfred Hitchcock, Ealing Comedy, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, British New Wave and much more, Great British Movies is a useful reference book, a celebration, and a starting point for the argument about what really does represent the best of British--a must for all fans of British cinema.

eBook Publisher: Pocket Essentials/Pocket Essentials
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2007




François Truffaut, the French director and critic, famously once said that the cinema and the British were inimical to one another, implying that as a nation we had neither a real cinematic tradition nor an innate feel for cinema, a summation that was clearly partial and superficial. In tandem with other French directors and critics of the ?nouvelle vague? era, Truffaut was a Hollywood enthusiast, often elevating routine material to the level of art and discovering hitherto hidden directorial ?geniuses? such as Howard Hawks, Samuel Fuller and even Jerry Lewis as justification of the ?auteur theory?, which established the director as the author of a film. However, it is true that throughout its history British cinema has had to contend with the increasingly dominating influence of the Hollywood industry. At times it has struggled to survive, not only in an artistic sense but also as a separate economic entity, raising the question of whether or not there has existed an indigenous film industry at all. With this Hollywood dominance of the marketplace has come an economic stranglehold, easily imposed by the major American film companies. More and more, the problem has been how a truly British film industry could make British films that reflected British society, and avoid merely producing genre product for a worldwide market in which 95% of the films shown were made by American companies or financed by American money. What is, after all, a ?British film?? For example, three of the most successful ?British? films of all time ? The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia and The English Patient ? were all financed by Hollywood money, but they are largely British in content and have British directors, writers and stars. For the purposes of this book, the selection of films I have made to represent the best of British cinema is defined by how British the subject-matter is and the national identity of the major artistic influences. Seventy-odd movies have been chosen for individual treatment, and obviously any such selection depends on personal taste and predilection. James Bond fans may be outraged that no single Bond film makes the list, as will ?Carry On? devotees. Whilst there is no doubt that both these series are significant in the history of the British film industry, my ultimate criteria have been significance and artistic merit. When the total oeuvre of the British film industry is considered, it is possible to see how Truffaut?s statement about the British and cinema can be dismissed as critically insubstantial.


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