Whilst in Abu Dhabi in 2010-2011, I ran an informal film club for about 4-5 friends. We did two main 'seasons' of 10 weeks each, the first on British crime films since the Second World War, the second on British films of the 1960s.
Here are the 10 films I showed, in roughly chronological other, as I tried to cover most aspects of the films of the period (bearing in mind that I've never been very interested in James Bond or horror films).
I later made a list of a different 10 films that I would have, or could have shown instead, some simply different to what I had picked out, some perhaps a better alternative or a film that I hadn't even seen up to that point.
This list would now look like this:
1. A Taste of Honey
2. The Criminal
4. The Leather Boys
5. Catch us if you can
6. Blow Up
8. Seance on a wet afternoon
9. The Spy who came in from the cold
10. Twisted Nerve
I wasn't trying to pick the best 10 films, it was more a case of showcasing the variety of films in the 60s, and trying to cover the whole era rather than the early-mid 60s, which I think have the lion's share of the best films.
I'd be interested in what sort of films other would select if they were running a film club on the 60s - more 'New Wave' films? Comedy? If you're a horror fan, I suppose you'd have to include some Hammer films, or a Bond film would be difficult to leave out if you wanted to represent the whole spectrum of film making.
I started the film club however with British crime films, using as a resource 'British crime cinema' edited by Steve Chibnall and Robert Murphy (see books section). I wanted to cover the main areas of this element of Brit cinema, from just after WWII to the present day. The films tended to pick themselves - when I told a friend what I was doing, he asked what films I'd picked, but I asked him in return which 10 he thought I'd picked: He got 8 out of the 10, which was very impressive I thought.
Here's the programme that I drew up:
Unlike the 60s films 'season', I think it would be hard to draw up a completely different 10 films to show to illustrate the best of British crime films - how could you leave out Lock, stock... or Get Carter?
There were a few alternatives possible, which I might change now; I originally intended to show Hell is a City with Stanley Baker, but I do think this is an overrated film (despite the brilliant Baker) and I'd only just got hold of The Frightened City and thought it much better (and still do), whilst Payroll is often overlooked (see its entry in the 'Unsung film' section). The Krays as a film was in because it's difficult to overlook the twins as a phenomenon in British crime, the rest was fairly obvious, apart from Face which I think is an excellent film (which got Ray Winstone in of course, as there was no room for Sexy Beast) and of the crop of early 21st century films ('Ladland' films, Chibnall calls them) Gangster no 1 is probably the best in my view, and it looked back to the 60s which of course interested me.
I was planning to show the new version of Brighton Rock to compare it with the Attenborough version but left Abu Dhabi before I was able to. The films that went down best were probably Get Carter, Brighton Rock and Payroll, along with Lock, Stock...(not an opinion I share! - I only showed it as I felt duty bound to as a key moment in British crime films).
If I was running such a season of films now I'd show The Criminal with Stanley Baker (I didn't have it at the time) and maybe They drive by night from 1938, but otherwise it would be just as before.