British 60s cinema
British 60s cinema

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This website will celebrate the vitalilty and variety of British cinema in the 1960s (whilst straying back into the 1950s and on into the 1970s, and sometimes just covering interesting British films from any era). In general I have taken the definition of the 1960s from Dominic Sandbrook's 'Never had it so good', which starts the era in 1956, and goes through to summer 1970. In cinematic terms, this is about right - although Room at the Top wasn't released until 1959, the literary impetus for such films goes back a few years - and the early 1970s films such as A Clockwork Orange, Villain and of course Get Carter feel very different again.  I started the website in April 2012, and although I try and give the dates when I write 'at the moment' etc, it's not always possible, so if anyone spots anything that is out of date please let me know, I want to keep the website as up to date and current as possible.

 

All uploaded clips are my own unless otherwise stated, where I have acknowledged the source.  All pics are freely available on the web, again unless otherwise stated.  If there are any pics that are copyrighted, let me know and I will remove them if requested; it is not my intention to pass off others' work or research as my own, and I have not done so knowingly. In the same vein, all text is copyrighted, and may not be reproduced without my permission.

 

In Nov 2017 I decided to change the home page layout, so all pages and pieces now appear in the main part of the website, leaving the home page free to highight any events, news or topics as they come along.

Events and news

I give occasional talks to film societies in the Norfolk area - I've even been asked back by one such group - which are usually on some aspect of British cinema, and my next talk is to the Fakenham Society on the New Wave films of the late 50s/early 60s on 25 Jan 2018, see their site for details at http://www.fakenhamsociety.org.uk/programme/ 

The biggie though, and far more interesting and exciting, is the 4th Renown Pictures Film Festival on 11 February 2018.  I've not made it to the previous three, and a recent run of bad luck and incompetence on my part (I managed to misplace my ticket for The Boys reunion recently)  has meant that I've missed two other events over the last couple of months, one of which Rita Tushingham appeared at.  I was therefore very pleased - no, make that 'overly excited' - to see that Rita will be at the 4th Renown festival, along with Shirley Anne Fields, Derren Nesbitt and others.  This is a really top class gathering, and I am very much looking forward to it and attending at last; one of the very first pages I wrote on this site was on Rita Tushingham, and for me she is one of the great icons of 60s British films.   Tickets can be obtained via the Renown films website, just follow this link:  https://www.renownfilms.co.uk/film-festival-2018-c-14/the-renown-pictures-festival-of-film-2018-p-358.html  

Unsung films

The main section of the site is the one on 'unsung' films; those films which few may have heard of, but which deserve a wider audience, such as This is My Street (see poster above) starring Ian Hendry and June Ritchie.  To date there are pages on 37 such films, all released in the 1960s apart from The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, which just sliipped over into the next decade, and Slade in Flame, which just didn't fit into any other category but was a film I just wanted to write about, so in it went.  The latest addition to this section (late Oct 2017) is a Michael Crawford film, Two Left Feet, with Nyree Dawn Porter and one of this site's favourites, Julia Foster.  Just click on the 'Unsung Films' link at the top of the page, and all the films featured are down the left hand side, just click on a film.  

Stars

I've got aome pages on stars of 60s films, principally on Rita Tushingham, Oliver Reed, Tom Courtenay, Peter Sellers and Norman Wisdom, but there are many, many others that I would love to write about.  At the moment I have come to realise that Michael Crawford, who I know, like many of my age, from TV's 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em', was in some pretty key films of the decade, so I may do a page on him in the not too distant future, but there are two or three actresses that might jump the queue, particularly Ann Lynn, Sylvia Syms and Julia Foster (above).  I've been plucking up the nerve to ask Julia Foster for an interview for about 6 months now, but keep bottling it.  Watch this space, as they say.  

Themed pages

If I started off with the intention of just writing about individual films, I soon went off at a tangent and many of the pages on the website are on general themes - Swinging London, Carry On films (see left), New Wave films (hate the expression 'Kitchen Sink'!) - and I ended up adding some non-60s pages, for example on the 1940s spiv cycle of films, or 'low-life' films of the 1930s.  The pages that I am most pleased with though are the ones that just celebrate unusual aspects of the films of the time, the main example being the page on The Smiths and 60s film culture.

 

Ideas for future pages include Harold Pinter scripts, recent films that look back at and recreate the period, and Ken Loach's TV and film work in the 1960s.

Adaptations

Another section I'm pleased with is the one on book-to-film adaptations in the 60s, as I think detailed articles on such adapations are quite rare.  I've always been very interested in reading the original novel after seeing certain films, so I decided to focus on famous films adapted from not-so-famous books.  

 

This section includes pages on The Leather Boys, Get Carter (originally published as 'Jack's Return Home') and The Collector (see right).  There aren't that many pages so far, partly becuase it's difficult to find the right film/book, but mainly because they are the most difficult and time-intensive pages to write, and I am essentially lazy.  Unlike the pages on unsung films, for example, where I can just watch a film, edit a few clips, find a few pics and then just ramble on about any old thing, for these pages I really have to focus on characterisation, setting, narrative and how they compare.  Still, the effort is worth it in my view as once done, they are some of the best pages on the site, although I do say so myself.

Books and DVDs

Early on I wrote up two pages on recommended books and DVD outlets for films of the period, and although they should be updated more often than they are, I hope they remain relevant.

 

The best book on British 60s cinema is still Robert Murphy's book (see left), but there are lots and lots of others on various aspects of the films of the time, which reinforces my point that British 60s films are so varied that they appeal across the board to all sorts of different people - and that's without even mentioning two of the most popular genres, James Bond (which I have no interest in) and horror films (which I dislike as a rule).

 

The page on DVDs focuses on the main retail outlets for British films - Renown, Network on Air etc - as well as the various 'obscure film' sellers that I've managed to find out about, such as myrarefilms.co.uk, who have cheap copies of hard-to-get films.   

There are plenty of other pages and sections, and although I've definitely slowed down over the last year (2017) that's mainly due to lack of time rather than a lack of things to write about, so I hope to add plenty more pages to the site over the next year and beyond.  If you have any comments, thoughts, suggestions for future pages etc, please let me know via the 'Contact' page.  Above all, please watch the films and enjoy; if I can introduce people to films they didn't know about, I will have achieved something.

The pic at the top is from the 1970 film The Breaking of Bumbo

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© Paul Thompson