Thursday, 29 December 2011

Gainsborough Melodramas

I have posted an article on the Gainsborough costume melodramas on Britmovie.  You can read it at:

Spring and Port Wine Again

Read my review of this film on Britmovie:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

BFI 100

So what are the 100 best british films? Well, according to the British Films Institute, they are these: the full list can be accessed here: They start with Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) and end with 1984's The Killing Fields, taking 98 other stops en route. In the top ten there are few you could argue with: Brief Encounter, Lawrence of Arabia, Great Expectations are all there, and the inclusion of Trainspotting (1996) at 10 is probably reflective of the time the list was created. Chariots of Fire at 19...hmmm, maybe that's not better than say Get Carter, but perhaps people remember Colin Welland and think the Brits really were coming then. Or that Blow Up (1966) rates several places lower than A Fish Called Wanda. Double Hmmm. Still, it's all a matter of opinion, eh? And all lists are subjective, after all. But it's a good eclectic list since it encompasses both 'high' and 'low' cultures, so that Hamlet can sit happilt between The Dam Busters and Goldfinger, and A Hard Day's Night (1964) can sit comfortably alongside Fires Were Started (1943), or Carry On Up the Khyber (1968) can snuggle up to 1984's The Killing Fields. Do you have an opinion? Look at the list and comment below.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Went the Day Well?

Went the Day Well is one of my very favourite British films. As a piece of wartime propaganda, it is superb; it plays upon and accentuates the (very natural) prejudices of the "filthy hun" and transposes them into the idyllic setting of a remote village community. It has a believable cast of time-specific characters who represent the full range of a rigid class-based English society - and it is interesting that it is the 'lord of the manor'figure who turns out to be the quisling. It shows the ordinary people of wartime Britain to be down to earth and immensely courageous in the face of Teutonic outrage. It shows that the villagers can be just as ruthless as their enemies in defence of freedom and the British way of life. The fact that it features performances by actors who later became household names (Thora Hird, Harry Fowler) is incidental. This is a war film set in surroundings that are just about still recognisable today. It is all the more powerful for it.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Get Carter (1971)

I admit it, Get Carter (1971) is almost certainly my favourite British film of all time. It is Michael Caine’s finest performance and the real genius of the film is the way it makes the viewer take for granted the (appalling) levels of violence which Carter employs. It does this by making us feel sympathy for him – partly because his brother has been murdered and partly because of the nasty exploitation of his niece. The string of faces familiar (to us older viewers) of faces from 60’s and 70’s TV (who can imagine Alf Roberts being a gangster, come on!!) undercuts the sheer viciousness Carter employs. It has fantastic locations, the crowd scene/extras are mesmerising – you just don’t see faces like that anymore! Get Carter is a timeless classic and the ill-advised remake with Sylvester Stallone only reinforces this point. The soundtrack is compelling, as is the opening sequence on the Newcastle bound train. From start to finish, Get Carter (1971) wins my vote every time.

get carter trailer michael caine

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Welcome to Best British Films

Hello British Film lovers and welcome to my new blog dedicated to the Best of British Films. I don't intend to cover just one period or genre - the whole of our marvellous and varied film history is our canvas and I look forward to making your accquaintances over the next few weeks. My favourite British film? Get Carter, I guess. Tell me yours. Anything you like from Rescued by Rover to The Long Good Friday or more recent. Sign up below!!