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Top 250 British Films - COMPLETE!

 
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Top 250 British Films - COMPLETE! - 24/7/2010 1:59:21 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54438
Joined: 1/10/2005
 
 
Welcome!
 
Over the next month or so we'll be posting the top 250 (ish) British films voted for by Empire users. To put up the list quicker we've stolen blurbs or written them ourselves (and SOME MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!) - but if anyone wishes to expound on their love for one of their personal choices, please just PM the blurb and I'll add it in here.
 
The plan is to put up about 50 films a week for the next 4 weeks and then stretch out the final 50 rundown to the No. 1 British film.

So, thank you to everyone who voted, to everyone whose writing we've appropriated and to Piles for this fabulous pic to head up our list.
 
The Brit List
 

249=
About a Boy (Weitzs, 2002)
Ghostwatch (Manning, 1992)
Love Actually (Curtis, 2003)
Our Mother's House (Clayton, 1967)
Richard III (Loncraine, 1995)
Son of Rambow (Jennings, 2007)
 
248
History Boys (Hytner, 2006)
 
244=
British Sounds (Godard/Roger, 1970)
The Great Escape (Sturges, 1963)

Theatre of Blood (Hickox, 1973)  
Threads (Jackson, 1982)

 
243
Riff-Raff (Loach, 1991)
 
238=
Casino Royale (Various, 1966)
Charge of the Light Brigade (Richardson, 1968)
Obsession (Dymytryk, 1949)
Topsy-Turvy (Leigh, 1999)
Up the Junction (Collinson, 1968)
 

233 =
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain (Monger, 1995)
The Man In The Back Seat (Sewell, 1961)
Some Voices (2000, Cellan-Jones)
Spare Time (Jennings, 1939)
Stardust (Vaughn, 2007)

232
Dr No (Young, 1962)
229 =
Bunny Lake is Missing (Preminger, 1965)
Gumshoe (Frears, 1971)
The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987)

226 =
Bedazzled (Donen, 1967)
The Leader, The Driver and the Driver's Wife (Broomfield, 1991)
Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh, 1993)

224 =  
Brassed Off (Herman, 1996)
Goodbye Mr Chips (Wood, 1939)

220 =  
Apartment Zero (Donovan, 1988)
Family Life (Loach, 1971)
Meantime (Leigh, 1984)
Play for Today – Rumpole of the Bailey (Gorrie, 1975)
 

214 =
Blood On Satan's Claw (Haggard, 1971)
The English Patient (MInghella, 1996)

The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
Night Mail (Watt, 1936)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Stoppard, 1990)
Thunderball (1965, Young)

213
Genevieve (Cornelius, 1953)
 
210 =
The Cement Garden (BIrkin, 1983)
Pink Floyd's The Wall (Parker, 1982)
The Silent Village (Jennings, 1943)
 
209
Witchfinder General (Reeves, 1968)
 
205 =
Becket (Glenville, 1964)
Culloden (Watkins, 1964)
The Escapist (Wyatt, 2008)  
Omnibus - Whistle and I'll Come to You (Miller, 1968)

204
School for Scoundrels (Hamer, 1960)

200 =
Amazing Grace (Apted, 2006)
Bloody Sunday (Greengrass, 2002)
Queen on Fire: Live at the Bowl (Taylor, 2004)
Small Faces (MacKinnon, 1995)

197 =
Hillsborough (McDougall, 1996)
The Mouse That Roared (Arnold, 1959)
A Passage to India (Lean, 1984)

195 =
Play for Today - The Elephant's Graveyard (Mackenzie, 1976)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Ritchie, 1998)

194
Man on Wire (Marsh, 2008)

189 =
Britannia Hospital (Anderson, 1982)
Gandhi (Attenborough, 1982)
A LIfe Less Ordinary (Boyle, 1997)
Queen: Live at Wembley Stadium (Taylor, 1986)
Things to Come (Menzies, 1936)

 
188
The Cruel Sea (Frend, 1953)
 
185 =
The Falls (Greenaway, 1980)
SIr Henry at Rawlinson End (Roberts, 1980)
Sleuth (Mankiewicz, 1972)
 
183 =
Dr Zhivago (Lean, 1965)
I Know Where I'm Going (Powell/Pressburger, 1945)
 
182
Shadowlands (Attenborough, 1993)
 
180 =
A Kind of Loving (Schleisinger, 1962)
Sunshine (Boyle, 2007)

 
179
In Which We Serve (Coward/Lean,1942)
 
178
Dog Soldiers (Marshall, 2002)

174 =
Dead of Night (Cavalcanti/Crichton/Deardean/Hamer,1945)

Howards End (Ivory, 1992)
I'm All Right Jack (Boulting, 1959)
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Forbes, 1964)

 
171 =
Screen One – A Question of Attribution (Schlesinger, 1991)
Eden Lake (Watkins, 2008)
Last Resort (Pawlikowski, 2000)
 

168 =
Mona Lisa (Jordan, 1986)
Wind That Shakes the Barley (Loach, 2006)
Women in Love (Russell, 1969)

167
Millions (Boyle, 2004)
 
163 =
A NIght to Remember (Baker, 1958)
Lion in Winter (Harvey, 1968)
Play for Today - Nuts in May (Leigh, 1976)
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (Ritt, 1965)

 
162
Oliver! (Reed, 1968)

161
Hunger (McQueen, 2008)
 
160
Poor Cow (Loach, 1967)

158
The Hill (Lumet, 1965)
In the Name of the Father (Sheridan, 1993)
 
157
Pygmalian (Asquith/Howard, 1938)
 
156
A Private Function (Mowbray, 1984)
 
154 =
The Full Monty (Cattaneo, 1997)
Spy Who Loved Me (Gilbert, 1977)
 
153
Educating Rita (Gilbert, 1983)
 
152
Four Feathers (Korda, 1939)
 
151
A Cock and Bull Story (Winterbottom, 2005)
 
148 =
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Newell, 2005)
Henry V (Olivier, 1944)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Hunt, 1969)
147
Room at the Top (Clayton, 1959)
 
145 =
Hamlet (Olivier, 1948)
Orlando (Potter, 1992)
 
144
Bill Douglas Trilogy - My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973), My Way Home (1978)
 
142 =
10 Rillington Place (Fleischer, 1971)
Company of Wolves (Jordan, 1984)
 
141
The War Game (Watkins, 1965)
 
140
A Cottage on Dartmoor (Asquith, 1929)
 
135 =
The Wednesday Play - Cathy Come Home (Loach, 1966)
Elizabeth (Kapur, 1998)
Licence to Kill (Glen, 1989)
London to Brighton (Williams, 2006)
Peter and the Wolf (Templeton, 2006)

134

The Dresser (Yates, 1983)
 
133
Blow-Up (Antonioni, 1966
 
131 =
Life is Sweet (Leigh, 1990)
Touching the Void (MacDonald, 2003)
 
129 =
Play for Today - Blue Remembered Hills  (Gibson, 1979)
Scum (Clarke, 1979)

Diary for Timothy (Humphrey Jennings, 1945)
 
127
Odd Man Out (Reed, 1947)
 
126
Persuasion (MIchell, 1995)
 
125
A Matter of Loaf and Death (Park, 2008)
 
124
Somers Town (Meadows, 2008)
 
122 =
Boy A (Crowley, 2007) SPOILERS
Chariots of Fire (Hudson, 1981)
 
121
The Meaning of Life (Jones, 1983)
 
120
Hedd Wyn (Turner, 1992)
 
119
Screen Two – The Firm (Clarke, 1989)
 
118
Sleep Furiously(Koppel, 2009)
 
117
Performance (Cammell/Roeg, 1970)

116
The Leather Boys (Furie, 1964)

115
Goldeneye (Campbell. 1995)

114
Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971)

113
A Child's Christmas in Wales (McBrearty, 1987)

112
The Dambusters (Anderson, 1955)

111
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Newell, 1994)

110
Made in Britain (Clarke, 1982)

109
Remains of the Day (Ivory, 1993)

108
Hue and Cry (Crichton, 1947)

107
The Man Who Would Be King (John Huston, 1975)

105 =
Repulsion (Polanski, 1965)
The Thief of Bagdad (Powell and Various, 1940)

104
Oh, Mr Porter! (Varnel, 1937)

103
The Italian Job (Collinson, 1969)

101 =
The Descent (Marshall, 2005)
Sense And Sensibility (Lee, 1995)

100
The Happiest Days of your Life (Launder, 1950)

99
Green for Danger (GIlliat, 1946)

98
Whisky Galore! (Mackendrick, 1949)

97
A Man For All Seasons (Zinneman, 1966)

96
Shakespeare in Love (Madden,1998)

95
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuaron, 2004)

94
Breaking the Waves (Von Trier, 1996)

93
Oliver Twist (Lean, 1948)

91=
Alfie (Gilbert, 1966)
Walkabout (Roeg, 1971)

88=
The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992)
The Day the Earth Caught Fire (Guest, 1961)
Of Time and the City (Terence Davies, 2008)

87
Night and the City (Dassin, 1950)

86
Hamlet (Branagh, 1996)

85
Look Back in Anger (Richardson, 1959)

84
Tunes of Glory (Neame, 1960)

83
Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975)

82
O Lucky Man! (Anderson, 1973

81
My Name Is Joe (1998; Ken Loach)
80
Whistle Down the Wind (Forbes, 1961)
 
79
Passport to Pimlico (Cornelius, 1949)
 
78
From Russia with Love (Young, 1963)
 
77
Happy-Go-Lucky (Leigh, 2008)
 
76
Sexy Beast (Glazer, 2000)
 
75
Man in the White Suit (Mackendrick, 1951)
 
74
Sweet Sixteen (Loach, 2002)
 
73
Day of the Jackal (Zinnemann, 1973)
72
The Servant (Losey, 1963)
 
71
Went the Day Well (Cavalcanti, 1942)
 
70
Don't Look Now (Roeg, 1973)
 
69
A Hard Day's Night (Lester, 1964)
 
68
Hobson's Choice (Lean, 1954)
 
67
A Taste of Honey (Richardson, 1961)
 
66
The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992)
 
65
This Sporting Life (Anderson, 1963)
 

64
Elephant Man (Lynch, 1980)
 
63
A Fish Called Wanda (Crichton, 1988)
 
62
Control (Corbijn, 2007)
61
Nil by Mouth (Oldman, 1997)
 
60
A Room With a View (Ivory, 1986)
 
59
24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)
 
58
The Railway Children (Lionel Jeffries, 1970)
 
57
A Room for Romeo Brass (Meadows, 1999)
 
56
The Snowman (Jackson, 1982)
 
55
Zulu (Endfield, 1964)
 
54
Listen to Britain (Jennings, 1942)
 
52 =
A Grand Day Out (Park, 1989)
Watership Down (Rosen, 1978)
 
51
Goldfinger (Hamilton, 1964)
 
50
Great Expectations (Lean, 1946)
 
49
Secrets and Lies (Leigh, 1996)
 
48
Gregorys GIrl (Forsyth, 1981)
 
47
In Bruges (McDonagh, 2008)
 
46
The Lavender Hill Mob (Crichton, 1951)
 
45
28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)
 
44
Kes (Loach, 1968)
 
43
Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Park, 2005)
 
42
Local Hero (Forsyth, 1983)
 
41
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Reisz,1960)

40

Red Shoes (Powell/Pressburger, 1948)
 
39
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Richardson, 1962)

38
Billy Liar (Schlesinger, 1963)
 
37
Brighton Rock (Boulting, 1947)
 
36
A Canterbury Tale (Powell/Pressburger, 1944)
 
35
When the Wind Blows (Jimmy T. Murakami, 1986)

34
Atonement (Wright, 2007)
 
33
This is England (Meadows, 2006)
 
32
Distant Voices Still Lives (Davies, 1988)
 
31
Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960)
 
30
Brief Encounter (Lean, 1945)
 
29
Get Carter (Hodges, 1971)
 
28
The 39 steps (Hitchcock, 1935)
 
27
The Innocents (Clayton, 1961)

26
In The Loop (Iannucci, 2009) (Some mild spoilers)

25

Long Good Friday (Mackenzie, 1980)
 
24
Shallow Grave (Boyle, 1994)

23
A Matter Of Life and Death (Powell/Pressburger/1946)

21=
If (Anderson, 1968)
Withnail and I (Robinson, 1987)
 
20
Bridge On The River Kwai (Lean, 1957)
 
19
Black Narcissus (Powell/Pressburger, 1947)
 
18
Moon (Jones, 2009)

17
The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock, 1938)
 
16
A Close Shave (Park, 1995)
 
15
The Ladykillers (Mackendrick, 1955)
 
14
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell/Pressburger, 1943)
 
13
Dead Man's Shoes (Meadows, 2004)

12
Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
 
11
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Jones/Gilliam, 1975)

10
The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973)
 
9
Naked (Leigh, 1993)
 
8
A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971)
 
7
Brazil (Gilliam, 1985)
 
6
Kind Hearts and Coronets (Hamer, 1949)
 
5
Trainspotting (Boyle, 1996)
 
4
Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962)
 
3
Wallace and Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (Park, 1993)
 
2
Monty Python's Life of Brian (Jones, 1979)
 
1.
THE THIRD MAN (CAROL REED, 1949)


 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 29/8/2010 9:59:31 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome
Post #: 1
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 24/7/2010 2:07:12 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54438
Joined: 1/10/2005
249=
 
About a Boy (Weitzs, 2002)
 
About a Boy features one of the most deliberately excruciating scenes on celluloid, and by gum it is effective. I know people who actually have to stop or forward the film at that part, they find it so unwatchable. And it is designed to do that, IMO.
 
Adapted by Nick Hornby from his own book it follows the story of a manboy made to grow up through his interactions with a teenager who needs some form of security in a life spent dealing with a troubled mother. Coming back again and again to Donne's claim that no man is an island, Hugh Grant's Will is an island – Ibitha. Playing on the more roguish character he successfully played in Bridget Jones he shares voiceover duties with promising young actor Nicholas Hoult as Marcus, as they negotiate their unusual relationship. They are well-supported by Toni Collette as Marcus's depressed hippy mother and given how badly Tony Parsons has done trying to ride the bandwagon of this male emotional type of story, it's nice to see the 'father and son' thing done in such an enjoyable and wry manner.
 
About a Boy is also noteworthy for its score from Badly Drawn Boy and a single release whose video focuses on an incident in the park with the manslaughter of a duck and the resultant duck revenge.
Elab49
 
 
 
Ghostwatch (Manning, 1992)
 
Everything was set up to be a live broadcast, well so the viewers thought, unlike the BBC who just assumed that the audience are not that daft, and they knew what they were going to watch was just a joke, a Halloween scare to give to the nation.

For the 90 minutes running time, a storm had developed, you could actually compare this to some extent to the live radio broadcast of HG Well's War Of The Worlds, which had people running down the streets of American convinced that Aliens were set to take over the world. 

I personally sat down on my own, I remember my parents were in the kitchen when I just started shouting for them to look at this.  Twenty minutes in we saw the first apparition, a shadowy figure is seen in the bedroom, picked up by the surrounding cameras and the image repeated constantly in the studio link with Parkinson and his guests.  This followed by more sightings, cameramen being knocked over by a strong force, objects being moved on their own, lights exploding and then soon Spiritual possession.  All this happening while the viewers believing what they were seeing was true, so you can imagine by the time this evil force had killed Going Live's Sarah Greene and then took over the body of Parkinson himself, the BBC switchboard was in meltdown.  In the space of 60 minutes even before the show reached its climax, 30,000 had phoned deeply worried at what they were seeing.  A massive 11 million had turned in, word had spread, and soon the BBC were offering apologise for all the offence it created.

It was too late!

The fall out was massive, stories had emerged of actual suicides after watching, two 10 year olds were diagnosed with PTSD (with Ghostwatch partly to blame).  The negative press piled the pressure on the BBC who acted by banning any repeat of the show for a 10 year period.  A ban that has been and gone, but such was the impact of this, I doubt it will ever be shown again but it is currently available on R2 DVD for those who are curious. 

Ghostwatch was maybe too bold for its time.  Looking back, the pre-credits sequence showed that what we were about to see was written by Stephen Volk, a clear sign that this was all fake.  Somehow that slight clue was missed by so many, and the wisdom of having well known Children TV presenters within the show, giving many of the audience a sign that this was maybe kid friendly when clearly it wasn't was probably not the best idea!  In fact, only minutes before the original airing the BBC nearly pulled the plug, some were nervous at what they were about to show. 

In an age where we criticise the BBC for just endless repeats and reality shows, it's too their credit that they went with the show, something they would never do now.  No one expected the fall out to be so severe, but for one Halloween night, we had something to frighten us and talk about....and like they say in my all time Favourite horror movie, "Its Halloween, we all deserve at least one scare!"......

 
HughesRoss
Love Actually (Curtis, 2003)
 
After writing several highly successful romantic comedies Richard Curtis made his directing debut in a self-written portmanteau of generally unconnected love stories.
 
With so many stories some are maybe not as successful as others, although he has managed to bring together a pretty impressive cast with the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Liam Neeson turning up in different segments. Perhaps the oddest story is what ends up as the enduring love between aging compulsively swearing rocker Bill Nighy, and his long-suffering manager Gregor Fisher (Joe – 'ugliest man in the world'). Trying to shift a crap rip-off Xmas song (the festering turd) he rarely bothers with diplomacy sticking to embarrassing honesty in interviews, although who could disagree with him – wouldn't we all prefer an aging ex-addict desperate for a comeback at any price for Xmas No 1 than the latest X Factor production line crap?
 
Curtis also benefits from an excellent performance from Laura Linney as a woman in love with a colleague but whose personal responsibilities crush her personal life and from Alan Rickman (whose initial scene with Linney explaining the entire office just wishes she'd get the hell on with it is one of the best in the film) as a man going through a problematic mid-life crisis.
Elab49
 
Our Mother's House (Clayton, 1967) Spoilers

When their uptight religious fanatic mother dies, a family of seven young children are terrified they'll be sent to an orphanage and separated. In a panic they bury her in the garden and carry on with their life as if she is still alive. They forge her signature so they can collect money for her and try their best to manage. They hold regular sιances where they contact their dead mother's spirit and use her advice as a way to rule the family. The children tells the neighbours that their mother has gone to the seaside to recover from her illness and all seems to be going well, but one of the children writes to their long absent father, Charlie (Dirk Bogarde) feeling his presence is needed. Charlie moves back in but quickly proves to be the shifty rogue that their mother had always accused him of being. He begins to waste the children's savings on a new car, drink and women, forming a dangerous relationship with their former cleaner, a wonderfully acidic Yootha Joyce. As time goes on he splits the loyalties of the children, but how far can these traumatised youngsters be pushed?

Jack Clayton had proved his talent with eerie films when he made The Innocents. Our Mother's House isn't quite on the same level as that masterpiece, but it's still a minor gem of British and horror cinema. Despite the fact that most of the leads are children, they aren't as annoying as you might expect, especially not when led by the miracle of child-acting that was Pamela Franklin. As the most sinister and parent-fixated of the siblings, she steals every scene she's in, especially the incredibly creepy 'sιance' scenes. Bogarde is also on top form, proving yet again that he was not only one of the most underrated actors of his era, but also one of the defining figures of 60s British cinema.

Rawlinson
 


Richard III (Loncraine, 1995)
 
The story of Richard III was what taught me history can lie – and Shakespeare takes his share of the blame for this one. Not only is the tale a calumny, but I have problems with it generally (Richard Dreyfuss flouncing around in pink and high-pitched voice have all but ruined it for me!). But this reimagining created by Richard Eyre on stage and Richard Loncraine on screen, with McKellen leading both creatively and as Richard is, for me, arguably the best Shakespearean adaptation on screen.
 
The play takes place during the Wars of the Roses with Richard, the last of York, falling at Bosworth Field after murdering his brothers, various other members of his court as well as, infamously, his nephews. Here it is situated in 30s Britain with York fighting in Nazi regalia – perhaps to make the point clear regarding the preferences of the York side by making the king's consort, Elizabeth Woodville, an American like Wallis Simpson (here played by Annette Bening).
 
Although it is hard to look at anyone else when McKellen so dominates the screen, the adaptation is generous to the best of the actors on display. More of Clarence is kept than many of the other characters and Nigel Hawthorne's dreamer is gently created.  McKellen combines roles, understandably, to give Maggie Smith more screentime, a viper who can hardly complain about what she created in her bosom. Adrian Dunbar enjoys his turn as the murderer Tyrell (and a small role for Michael Elphick as his accomplice is a reminder the man was more than just Boon!). But it is McKellen's film. Seducing Anne to madness, the sly asides to camera – he even manages to convincingly keep the horse line in the middle of a motorised assault. The physical disability is never overplayed and never prevents us from believing in the warrior as well as the murderer.
 
Done without the budgets given to the likes of Branagh, the creators make superb use of striking architecture, moving them to different locations. Locations like Battersea Power Station and St Pancras look really quite stunning and are used to enhance the Nazi theme. Brighton Pavilion is used for Edward's death scenes including, I think, a rather amazing dining room doubling as his bedroom.  The film is a brilliant reimagining of a problematic play that looks amazing and is chock full of superb performances.
Elab49




Son of Rambow (Jennings, 2007)
 
In the 70s and 80s the BBC showed a kids show called Screen Test – something that probably gave the idea to whoever came up with all those Scene It games you get now, show the clip, and ask some questions. Later in its run it also ran a competition for young filmmakers. And it was this that clearly made an impression on a young Garth Jennings.
 
Will comes from an odd religious family and can't watch TV. After an encounter with a young troublemaker, he ends up taking part in a film being made for entry to Screen Test. They choose to try and recreate Rambo. Along the way, the very popular New Romantic French exchange student Didier joins in, making Will instantly cool (and I'm guessing that Jennings also had a lot of very odd ideas about the secrets behind the 6th form door – youths indulging in those frothy rocks and fizzy pop and using the standard joke of setting a new dance craze).
 
It's a lovely and very nostalgic tale about the friendship of two young boys, given a bit of edge by including the strict religious sect and the jealousy Lee feels when his project seems to be taken over by his 'blood brothers' new friends.
 
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 25/1/2011 12:15:21 AM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 2
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 24/7/2010 2:18:02 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54438
Joined: 1/10/2005
248
 
 
History Boys (Hytner, 2006)
 
Adapted from Alan Bennett's massively successful play, History Boys stays very close to the original stage play. A group of grammar school boys in early 80s Sheffield are studying for the Oxbridge entrance exams – unsure about the benefit of eccentric General Studies teacher Hector, the head hires a new man, Irwin, to help out with the class with History teacher Mrs Lintott stuck in the middle.
 
The writing successfully defines the characters of the boys very quickly – the seductive Dakin, the sensible Scripps and the fragile Posner – but it's the character of Hector who dominates the screen in the person of the great Richard Griffiths. Hector is an intellectual snob, but reveres all knowledge – to him knowledge is an end inofitself and it is this tension between that belief and the type of teaching that restricts itself to how to pass exams by rote and by trickery, as taught by Irwin, that forms one of the central themes of the film. Irwin's later career is treated with disdain – the type of contrarian and deliberately controversial historian we increasingly see on our screens.
 
Added on to that are various grades of sexual tension – the tolerance by the boys of certain odd proclivities of Hector's, Posner's feelings for Dakin and more daringly, and extremely well played, the growing flirtation between Dakin and Irwin as the latter is unable to defend himself against Dakin's persistence. 
 
Bennett's screenplay is full of faceachingly funny one-liners and brilliant farce, the barbs skilfully played by a cast made up principally of the original stage cast. From Rudge's 'history is one fucking thing after another' Posner's 'I'm a Jew, I'm small, I'm homosexual and I live in Sheffield. ..I'm fucked' to the broad farce of recreating a French brothel as the headmaster visits, History Boys presents one of our most treasured playwrights on top form, well-served by his cast and a director who knows the material inside out.
Elab49
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 24/7/2010 2:27:08 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 3
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 24/7/2010 2:25:26 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54438
Joined: 1/10/2005
244 =
 
 
 
British Sounds (Godard/Roger, 1970)

"British Sounds” (sometimes called "See You at Mao”), made firmly within Godard's revolutionary/radical/political/Maoist period, was made for London Weekend Television by Godard and Jean-Henri Roger, before being promptly banned by the same company. It's an overtly Maoist film that urges the British public to cut their consumerist, capitalist ties and live freely under communist ideology. It's a film made up by six loosely linked parts, the most famous of which is an uninterrupted ten minute shot along the production line at the British Motors factory in Cowley, Oxford, which is an obvious but still rather powerful slamming of the mechanical, formulated way of life that comes with consumerism (of which cars have always been a go-to symbol of in Godard's films… see "Week End”, "Les Caribineers”, "A Married Woman”, etc). The directional duo follow up with another single shot, this time of a nude woman, on the phone to a prying boyfriend. It's accompanied by a feminist text, and I think this is probably the weakest section of the film, for it's obviously a very male commentary on feminism, and "A Married Woman” is a better Godard take on such a topic. The fact that the rest of the film is so much stronger saves the film, though, with such segments as a capitalist news reel talking about varied topics like black 'filth' invading Wolverhampton and how women and children should be burned because of their lack of worth, as well as a fist repetitively punching its way through the Union Jack (which creates quite a powerful montage). As an agitprop experiment, "British Sounds” is a great experience, filled with interesting commentary, anger (it even rivals the great "Week End” for Godard spewing vitriol), and powerful imagery from the very start till the bitter end.

Piles
 
 
The Great Escape (Sturges, 1963)
 
As audiences dwindled the movie companies tried several tricks to lure viewers away from their new TVs. Snazzy technoscopic3Dcolourvisions were one way, same as the reason for 3D now. The other was big budget extravaganzas chock full of big name stars, normally in war films. The Great Escape was one of these – one of the best, and arguably the most beloved of them becoming a Xmas staple in pre-multi-channel UK.
 
The film is based loosely on the mass POW escape from Stalag Luft III in WWII and the horrific mass-murder by the Gestapo of the majority of the men when they were recaptured. The film begins with all the regular escape artists in the German camp system brought together in an 'impregnable' new high-security camp. It brings together major American stars like Steve McQueen (as Cooler King Hilts) and the disciplined world of Big X (Bartlett – Richard Attenborough). Various other nationalities pop up as well, although it is unlikely that the Australians have forgiven James Coburn for that accent quite yet.
 
Sturges's film successfully balances the humour and camaraderie of the camp with a series of tense escapes and nail-biting set-pieces (e.g. the train station where many of the escapees end up). It has its own version of a car chase with Hilts stunt cycling but it's more emotive than many of these manly films, particularly in the sweet friendship between the forger losing his sight and his scavenger room-mate (Pleasance and Garner), and Shuey McPhee's increasing despair. It features one of the most famous scenes in film; a trick copied in hundreds since (and who'd have thought Cowley could be so careless!) and still provides a standard film trivia question – which 3 made it out?
 
While it sacrifices the realism of a film like The Longest Day for adventure, it does so exceptionally well which is clearly why it remains a favourite film today.
 
Elab49
 
 
Theatre of Blood (Hickox, 1973)

Spoilers

Quite possibly the greatest horror comedy of all time, and one of the few that actually manages to be both funny and frightening, Theatre of Blood sees the great Vincent Price at the height of his powers. It may not be as fine a performance as Witchfinder General, where Price conveyed moral bankruptcy and spiritual emptiness with startling accuracy, but it's the Price that most people are familiar with, camp, sinister and a joy to watch.

Price stars as Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor out for vengeance on the critics who didn't appreciate him. In his mind, Lionheart was the greatest Shakespearean actor of his time, in reality he was just a big ham. Humiliated by the critics when they didn't award him their best actor trophy, he fakes his own death and, aided by his daughter, Edwina (Diana Rigg), takes revenge by murdering them in the style of Shakespeare's plays. It may not sound that funny, but the over-the-top deaths of the critics circle make for hilarious viewing. As for the circle themselves, they're played with complete joy by an impressive cast that includes Harry Andrews, Ian Hendry, Coral Browne, Jack Hawkins, Dennis Price, Robert Morley, Robert Coote, Arthur Lowe and the man who should have voiced God, Michael Hordern.

Similar in theme to the Phibes films, I think Blood just has the edge over them because of that supporting cast and because Price himself isn't restrained behind a mask. Instead he's allowed to run wildly over-the-top in a performance that I swear parodies Olivier's Shakespearean work. It's literate, grotesque and just damn funny.

 
Rawlinson
 
 
 
Threads (Jackson, 1984)
 
I was far too young to see this on first showing, but at some point in the early 90s an older friend gave me a videotaped copy with the warning that it was the scariest thing he'd ever seen. He'd also told me the same thing about Turkey Shoot, so my expectations weren't high. However, Threads turned out to be a grim, depressing and terrifying experience. Threads takes the prospect of nuclear war and shows the devastation on a small scale by focusing on a young couple in Sheffield. They're pregnant and due to be married when a nuclear confrontation between American and Soviet forces, forcing Britain to become involved as well. Millions are killed when bombs fall on Britain and the survivors are forced to search the ruins of the city for what food and shelter they can find, hoping to avoid dying themselves from radiation sickness or outbreaks of various diseases. Threads not only shows what devastation the weapons can cause, but also how quickly society collapses when faced with this level of catastrophe. Twenty five years on from its original release Threads remains one of the most shocking, frightening and emotionally brutal films ever made.  
 
Rawlinson
 


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 24/7/2010 2:29:26 PM   
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Riff-Raff (Loach, 1991)
 
Filmed with Ken Loach's usual sense of realism, this is another film aimed at pricking our social conscience. Riff-Raff is set during the Thatcher years and stars Robert Carlyle as Stevie, a fresh out of prison Glaswegian who moves to London and gets work on a building site. The workforce is made up of cheap labour, mostly men working under false names and still claiming dole. They're non-union so they have to put up with low pay and terrible conditions, working to build luxury flats they could never afford to live in. Stevie meets Susan, a down on her luck singer with a drug problem, and they start a volatile relationship. The film is shot through with humour, despite its darker nature, with the crew bonding together in their shared distrust of management and their own vision of themselves as outsiders. Loach again proves that he's a master at capturing the reality of Britain's forgotten people, it's another important film from an important director.   
 
Rawlinson
 


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 24/7/2010 2:39:15 PM   
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Casino Royale (Various, 1966)
 
From all the films in my top 100, this is the only one I wouldn't necessarily defend when someone says it's bad. It's quite a mess, really. However, few films have a comparable amount of stars, which one may dismiss as irrelevant, but actually really helps the film in my opinion. Barcharach's score is superb and while the tonal changed may throw people off, it's the totally contrasting types of humour that make the film work for me. "I have a very low threshold of death” indeed. 
 
Miles Messervy 007.
 
 
Charge of the Light Brigade (Richardson, 1968)
 
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward, 
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred. 
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six  hundred.
Some of us will have learnt this poem at school and grown up with the idea of a feat of great bravery. The quick short mention of a blunder is hidden amongst the words celebrating the glory of the men who made the charge. But this lethal mistake – caused by confusion over which guns were to be taken in a valley that blocked most of the view and the misdirection of a junior officer – caused over the deaths of over 100 men who suicidally charged Russian guns face on.
 
Unsurprisingly this film was nothing like the ridiculously heroic version led by Errol Flynn in the 1930s. Richardson was working for Woodfall Productions – the company that kick-started the British New Wave in the 50s. The script was by Charles Wood, who's other work on How the War Was Won, Long Day's Dying and Bed Sitting Room, amongst others, made clear his view of war and those who prosecute it. This version is in a line of films in the 60s, ending with Oh! What a Lovely War, with similar themes.
 
The build up to Balaclava serves to clarify the conduct of war and the character of the men in charge – one of the problems that led to the final mistake was the open animosity between the 2 men in charge of the cavalry. Communication was even worse. Richardson gives us aristocrats who believe that a man conducting war 'properly' would be a murderer – everything is polite interaction and playing to rules. The men are little more than pawns in some polite game, although the camp followers seem to be having fun – particularly Jill Bennett's foul floozy who gets off on the idea of bloodshed.
 
The final battle is impressive with much of the distressing soundtrack provided by the screaming of horses (nearly 3 times as many horses were killed than men). They use camera tricks to provide the proper topography of the valley and we can both look down on the action with Raglan, while following the cavalry's gradual move towards obliteration at ground level.
 
Finally of note is an interesting animation sequence that opens the film, running through the titles into a background on what caused the war in the first place – based, I think, on some of the Punch and newspaper cartoons of the day. The film also takes aim at the jingoistic media and the ridiculous romantic ideas of young men in love with death and glory (focussed on the character of Nolan).
Elab49
 
 
 
Obsession (Dymytryk, 1949) Spoilers

After his Hollywood blacklisting, Edward Dmytryk became another of the many directors who came to Britain looking for work. The best of his British work was this overlooked Hitchcockian thriller. Obsession starring The Patron Saint of Talk Like a Pirate Day (Robert Newton) as Dr. Clive Riordan, a psychiatrist who is cuckolded by his unfaithful wife one time too many. The film follows his plot to commit the perfect murder. When he discovers his wife has been having yet another affair, he kidnaps her latest lover and chains him up in a hidden cellar room. He decides to keep him there until police interest in his disappearance dies down, after which, he plans to murder him and dispose of the remains in an acid bath. The lover and the wife are so obnoxious that you find yourself siding with the insanely jealous doctor. A strong rival to Farewell, My Lovely as Dmytryk's finest work, Obsession is a taut and gripping thriller, with Newton turning his more hammy tendencies into something more disturbing and putting in a career best performance as the jealous doctor.
 
Rawlinson
 
 
 
Topsy-Turvy (Leigh, 1999)
 
Leigh's depiction of the creative process behind the writing and production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado might seem like an odd choice for a director generally linked to features examining family relationships and the harshness of working-class life. And yet – in its blunt depiction of the lives of the people behind the production, both social and artistic, there are clear links to Leigh's more contemporary interests.
 
With audiences failing, D'oyly Carte calls for a new work from writer Gilbert and his composer 'partner', the ill Arthur Sullivan. Inspired by a Japanese exhibition in London, they start work on the Mikado and the film follows the rehearsal process, the ins and outs of arranging and dealing with the cast and leads up to the premiere in the world famous Savoy Theatre. Leigh cast actors who could also handle the singing (although some G&S purists complained, but they would, wouldn't they?).
 
The period detail and the colours of the production look pretty fabulous and you learn things as well – e.g., the thing that struck my first viewing was entirely personal as I hadn't realised George Grossmith (who with his brother Weedon wrote one of my favourite books) was part of the Savoy company (or, indeed, aware of anything he did other than write Diary of a Nobody!).
 
Elab49
 
 
Up the Junction (Collinson, 1968)
 
This film by Peter Collinson arrived only 3 years after the book had been adapted by the author for the Wednesday Play on the BBC (directed by Ken Loach, who was working with the author on her second book, Poor Cow, while this film was being made).
 
Set in the swinging sixties world of Alfie, well-off Chelsea-girl Suzy Kendall decides to experience a bit of rough and heads to the working class environs of Battersea to meet and work with the locals. The strongest aspects of the film rest on the depiction of the working-class woman, although Hylda Baker's overblown backstreet abortionist was perhaps handled better in Saturday Night Sunday Morning. But Maureen Lipman and Liz Fraser are lively and strong characters, given more depth than the privileged incomer.
 
Like many of its ilk key parts of the film centre round an abortion with some rather obvious visuals representing what is going on in the background. It's also the first film that the censors permitted to use the word 'bugger', apparently, although seemed to be because they thought that type of character knew no better than to use it! And it must have been effective as Collinson's film was the biggest British earner in 1968.
 
Elab49
 


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 27/7/2010 3:02:11 PM   
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The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain (Monger, 1995)
 
Hugh Grant and Ian McNeice play cartographers for the British government who have been sent to a small village in Wales to measure the exact height of their mountain. When they discover that it's actually only tall enough to qualify as a hill, the villagers plan to claim back their mountain by making an artificial mound on the top. They just need to keep Grant and McNeice in the village and then convince them to remeasure it. Maybe the fact that the story the film is based on took place so close to home for me colours my view of the film slightly, but I think it's a greatly underrated work. The story is slight, but charming and the likes of Colm Meaney and Tara Fitzgerald give excellent performances with the wild but wonderful Kenneth Griffith, surely one of the maddest Welshmen of the 20th century, stealing the film as the village's Reverend. 
Rawlinson
 
 

 
The Man In The Back Seat (Sewell, 1961) SPOILERS AHEAD

It's a sad testament to how unappreciated The Man In The Back Seat is that I couldn't find a decent picture online to use for this entry. Sadly that seems to be the way it is for the vast majority of Vernon Sewell's films. The ones that are easier to see tend to be from his later period where he'd either lost his touch or just stopped caring, which is a shame because for a while he was one of Britain's most inventive low-budget directors. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that he's one of cinema's great lost talents. Despite some strong films in the 40s, I'd argue that he didn't really hit his peak until 1961, and from 61 - 62 he would direct a trilogy of B-movie classics, the greatest of which was The Man In The Back Seat.

Adapted from an Edgar Wallace story and playing out like a British Detour, or a forgotten Fritz Lang, The Man In The Back Seat focuses on the cruelty of fate and how it can destroy even our best-laid plans. The plot revolves around two incompetent low-level crooks, Tony and Frank (Nesbitt and Faulkner). They plot to rob a bookie as he leaves the racetrack with his winnings. They knock him out and try to steal his money only to discover that the bag with the cash is chained to his wrist and the key has gone missing. They bundle him into the back seat of their car while they try to figure out a plan to get the bag off his wrist and dump him before he wakes up. But everything they try goes wrong, and the bookie doesn't seem to be waking up. The film then turns into a desperate race to dump him before he dies and they're stuck with a corpse. They make one last ditch attempt to lose the body, only to find fate has one more trick up its sleeve, the viewer is just left to ponder if what we see in the dying moments of the movie is a guilt ridden hallucination or a supernatural nod to Macbeth.

The Man In The Back Seat is little more than a quota quickie, but it demonstrates the talent of Sewell to perfection. The natural brevity of the film's one hour running time helps a great deal, but we're provided with a strong script and an atmospheric and haunting style from Sewell. The heart of the film is in the relationship between the immoral but charismatic Tony (Nesbitt) and the weaker but more humane Frank (Faulkner). If either performance had been weak then the film would fall apart, luckily we get two actors on the top of their games, as if they knew they would seldom get the chance to turn in work this strong again. Nesbitt especially is superb as the cowardly, mean-spirited Tony.  Strong support comes from a young Carol White as Faulkner's frustrated wife.

I may be overstating the case for The Man In The Back Seat slightly, but when I watch it I can only dream of what Sewell could have done if he'd been given a budget and some strong support at this stage of his career. We could have been looking at a minor league Hitchcock, instead he wasted the later years of his career on nonsense like The Blood Beast Terror. Back Seat is best seen as a double-bill with Strongroom. Made by Sewell the following year, and again starring Nesbitt and Faulkner as a pair of loser criminals, Strongroom is the sister film to Back Seat, and another strong b-movie meditation on fate and the way it screws with the individual. Recommended viewing for all fans of b-movies and film noir.
Rawlinson
 



Some Voices (2000, Cellan-Jones)

Adaptation by Joe Penhall from his own stage-play, starring Daniel Craig and David Morrissey. Blurb proper will be up when I can dig out my DVD.




Spare Time (Jennings, 1939)

Made on the brink of war, Jennings short film examines what 3 industrial communities do in their spare time. Laurie Lee's sparse commentary makes the timing clear – they might have spare time now, but maybe not for much longer.

Each segment is linked by the music of the community they visit – the steel town has a brass band, the cotton mills a rather odd jazz kazoo band (and in one of the best known scenes segues from a tableau created by the band of a rising Britannia, to a real lion behind bars) and in the mining community it starts with a lady at a piano gradually being joined by a male voice choir. The camera visits football matches and dance halls, wrestling and the theatre, healthy cyclists and whippets in a style of observation that seems very much Jennings's own – no judgement, no social message, just a fall out from his own key work in the Mass Observation movement.

Created under the auspieces of the GPO, the film was made for the 1939 World Fair in New York.
Elab49
 


 
Stardust (Vaughn, 2007)

Tristan lives in the small village of Wall, which borders the nearby magical village of Stormhold. When a star is knocked out of the sky Tristan searches for it as a gift for the woman he loves, only to discover the star is actually a woman,Yvaine. A trio of witch sisters have also learned of the fallen star and plan to find her and eat her heart to regain their youth. As Tristan tries to take Yvaine as a gift for his love, the witches begin to close in on them. Where Stardust works is in the charming relationship between the two leads, where it falters is in the big name support roles, Robert De Niro camps it up a little too much and Ricky Gervais continues to be a complete waste of space. It feels like stunt casting and detracts from the actual quality of the film. But Stardust is a more charming  and entertaining film than its critics will allow, even if it never quite reaches the magical heights it aims for.
Rawlinson


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 27/7/2010 3:05:05 PM   
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Dr No (Young, 1962)
 
James Bond's first outing is a slick, accomplished affair with much of the pattern for the future films already falling into place. Connery eases into the role comfortably – an amoral bastard, basically, skilfully taking on one-liners with ease and the enjoyability of the film hasn't aged a day. Unusually the bad guy doesn't really turn up till the last 20 minutes or so, played enigmatically by the late Joseph Wiseman. The effects have clearly aged – laughably so. Still doesn't matter.

It's an unusual film really. It was a type of film that Britain really hadn't done before but, personally, I see it as a logical next step from the cycle of post-war war films that dominated the box office in the late 50s. At a time the UK was losing its place in the world, remembering when we were last a significant power that righted the world held a powerful sway over cinema-goers. But come the early 60s nostalgia wasn't going to work anymore – so we were given a big budget fantasy where Britannia still ruled the waves and it smashed the box office as so many of its successors were going to do as well. In particular, it's possibly both the most racist and desperately colonial of the films – the problem the Americans need us to solve for them, the former colonial locations and the treatment of the natives. But it is a product of its time, it's no use forgetting that and no different to the in-jokes we no longer get, like Bond's double-take at the picture in No's palatial drawing room, a representation of a painting recently stolen from the National Gallery in real life.

Elab49


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 27/7/2010 3:08:07 PM   
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Bunny Lake is Missing (Preminger, 1965)

John & Penelope Mortimer scripted this enthralling Preminger mystery. A young American woman, Ann, has just moved to London with her daughter, Bunny, to be with her beloved brother. She enrols Bunny in a nearby nursery but, waiting for the delivery men to bring her furniture, she has to leave Bunny there before she can speak to the staff, only managing to tell the school cook about Bunny's presence. When she returns to collect Bunny, the girl is missing and the staff deny all knowledge of her. Might she never have existed at all?  The disappearance is investigated by Laurence Olivier's superintendent, and once again Olivier proves that he was a far more effective screen actor when he wasn't doing Shakespeare. Also excellent is Noel Coward as Ann's sleazy landlord. Bunny Lake is One of Preminger's greatest, and most underrated, films. The plot  may seem to have been done to death over the years (From The Lady Vanishes on) but Bunny Lake works in large part thanks to its incredible sense of atmosphere and Preminger's masterful use of tension and paranoia.
Rawlinson


 
Gumshoe (Frears, 1971)

Stephen Frears' impressive feature debut stars Albert Finney as Eddie Ginley. Eddie is a Scouse Bingo Caller who dreams of being an American P.I. Eddie decides to advertise his services as a private detective and soon finds himself mixed up in drugs, dead bodies and Machiavellian schemes. Gumshoe shows that the reinvention of noir in the 70s wasn't started with Robert Altman, Frears got there first in a film that is both a very affectionate tribute to American noir and a deconstruction of the genre. What better way to recast the loser-hero of noir than as a small time bingo caller who dreams of being Philip Marlowe? Gumshoe is an offbeat little film that manages to bring genuine mystery into the most mundane of settings, an excellent debut from a director who would make some of the most interesting films of the next four decades, and a wonderful vehicle to show off the talents of the ever brilliant Finney.
Rawlinson
 

 
The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987)
 
With a new Bond comes a new style. Timothy Dalton does away with much of Moore's affectations and smugtastic quips and brings Bond back to a sort of new starting point. When asked who he is, he doesn't reply 'Bond..............James Bond', but a more brusque, efficient 'Bond, James Bond'. No more is it a loaded phrase but a simple statement of fact.

The plot sees a few of the 00 agents executed during a training exercise, with the message 'smiert spionem' - 'death to spies' left on their corpse. Meanwhile a Russian military man wants to defect, requesting Bond to protect him from a suspected assassin. When Bond sees the sniper is an attractive lady his 'instincts' kick in and he merely disarms her, not killing her. Good job, as it turns out she was a decoy and the defection was a double cross. The actual aim is something to do with diamonds, opium, and weaponry but the details aren't important. What is important is that Bond gets some kick ass action courtesy of this more youthful incarnation.

It's clear with hindsight to see that after the self-satisfaction of the Moore era the producers were attempting to bring Bond back to some semblance of credibility. Sound familiar? It's a shame that Dalton only had two attempts at the role, as I feel his two films are two of the best - this one for sentimental reasons (I spent Christmas the year this was left us writing 'smiert spionem' on Christmas party balloons, and popping them a la Bond upon reading it), the other for quality reasons. Which is not to say that The Living Daylights is poor - it isn't. It just suffers when compared to Licence To Kill - the only film with which it can be fairly compared, it being the only other Dalton film.

It's fun to spot the actors we see in TV now (Zubi from Holby City is an Afghan terrorist - a role-type he would reprise 7 years later in True Lies, Jack's Dad from Lost is Felix Leiter!) but the film works as a great action film with a dose of political relevance as well. It's possibly where the 'modern Bonds' can be separated from the 'older Bonds'. Even as far as A View To A Kill, the Bond films have a certain air about them that makes the instantly recognisable. With The Living Daylights there are the definite Bond traits (gadgets - wolf whistle-activated explosives, cars - that DB7!) but they have a different air about them after this. Very much modern films, but Bond nonetheless. As if to mark this, we get the first non-title-sequence nipple! That's progress.

HomerSimpson_Esq


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 27/7/2010 3:11:47 PM   
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Bedazzled (Donen, 1967)
 
Stanley Moon (Moore) is a cook in Wimpeys, in love with Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron), but too shy to ask her out. Frustrated with his life he attempts suicide, then George Spiggott (Cook) appears. George is really The Devil. He's in a competition with God to be the first to win 100 billion souls, if George wins he gets back into Heaven. George offers Stanley the chance to get Margaret, but only if he signs away his soul. He gives Stanley seven wishes, each a chance to get Margaret into his life. But George's trickery and interference spoils things each time. The film is told in episodic form, with each of Stanley's wishes playing out in fantasy sequences where he becomes everything from a fly on a wall to one of the leaping nuns of Norwich.

Cook wrote the script as well as starring, so if you don't like Peter Cook's comedy then you're not going to like Bedazzled. But if you don't like Peter Cook's comedy then you just don't like comedy. Bedazzled is Cook's writing at its finest, sharp, satirical, savage with a whimsical streak. Moore gives his finest acting performance here as the hapless Stanley. It's true that Stanley Donen wasn't exactly a directorial genius, but with a script this strong he doesn't need to be. The feeling you get is of someone who was able to guide two of comedies greatest improvisers to strong character performances. George and Stanley really are just extensions of the common public perception of Pete 'n' Dud. Stanley is a loveable loser while George is brilliant and enigmatic. This is most evident in the superb fantasy sequence with Stanley as a pop star who plays to a shrieking audience of fans, begging them to love him, only to find himself upstaged by George as Drimble Wedge, an aloof and self-obsessed singer.

One of the film's greatest strengths is that it makes both characters likeable and believable. George is the most charming incarnation of The Devil you could ever hope to meet and despite all his trickery you feel you'd like him as a friend. Stanley may be pitiful but he's a nice guy and you can understand his dilemma, what sane man wouldn't sell his soul for Eleanor Bron?

Rawlinson. 
 
 

 
The Leader, The Driver and the Driver's Wife (Broomfield, 1991)
 
Nick Broomfield is responsible for a particular style of documentary – appearing on screen the film also follows the process of trying to make the documentary and, specifically in this one, the repeated failed attempts to get an interview with Eugene Terre'Blanche, leader of a far right group of white supremacists in South Africa. As a result he spends much of the film with Terre'Blanche's driver JP and his wife Anita and updating on other aspects of life in contemporary South Africa shortly after Mandela's release. It isn't just the structural or visual style either – Broomfield adopts a deliberately sardonic tone, referring sarcastically to Terre'Blanche as 'the Leader' throughout the doc.
 
This is also one of the few entries we can provide a link so you can try it for yourself
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YMRbdOBGfw&has_verified=1
 
It's fair warning that this contains some extremely offensive views. Broomfield tries to avoid antagonistic interchanges so when being faced with questions on whether he saw god as white, there is simply silence from his side of a camera that makes its point keeping the focus on the idiot racist on the other side of it.
 
Channel 4 has uploaded it to YouTube. It also appears on 4oD. Broomfield returned to these subjects in 2006 in His Big White Self, also available on YouTube.
Elab49
 
 

 
Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh, 1993)

After the very dramatic Henry V, Branagh's next Shakespearean outing was arguably Shakespeare's best comedy, although Malvolio and my English class's take on the speaking through the hole with Bottom might provide some challenge to the crown! But, for me, it's the pitch perfect sparring between Benedick and Beatrice that put this play on top.

The cast were a mix of Branagh's rep company regulars (people like Richard Briers) and big name American stars to bring in the money and audience. He took the lead as Benedick himself, facing off against his then wife Emma Thompson. Whether that relationship helped or not, they make a cracking central couple, spitting barbs and words of love, offering fealty and asking for murder. I've seen better, but not by much.

The Americans were hit and miss. Washington was solid enough as Pedro, and that's all the role really calls for. Keanu Reeves as baddie Don John provides some unintended amusement. The best of them though is Michael Keaton playing the self-satisfied lawkeeper Dogsberry like a Keystone Kops act and doing so very well.

Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 27/7/2010 3:12:23 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 10
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 27/7/2010 3:14:34 PM   
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Brassed Off (Herman, 1996)

During the miner's strike, the members of a Yorkshire colliery brass band do their best to survive. Brassed Off shows a community that's self-destructing, a place where people find anything they can to retain their pride and their dignity, for the characters in this film that sense of pride is found through their band. The Colliery is on the verge of closure and some of the workers, including the characters played by Ewan McGregor, Stephen Tompkinson and Pete Postlethwaite, are determined that it should remain open. Not all the film works and I could have lived without the teased romance between McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald. Coming post-Trainspotting, the film was sold based upon McGregor's involvement, but the real heart of the story is Tompkinson's performance as a debt-ridden miner who slowly breaks down over the course of the film. Tompkinson is an actor who seems to have established himself as a cosy Sunday-afternoon favourite in recent years, which is a real shame when he's capable of work as powerful and angry as this. 
Rawlinson
 


Goodbye Mr Chips (Wood, 1939)

A surprising Oscar winner (Donat for his lead as Chipping), this sentimental tale is told in flashback as elderly schoolmaster Mr Chipping falls asleep and remembers back to his arrival at Brookfield nearly 60 years earlier. Starting as an overly strict master he grows into the job with the aid of his wife, and returns after his retirement because of a shortage of men after the war.

Originally from a novel by Lost Horizon's James Hilton, the screenplay came from English playwright RC Sherriff (who was linked to James Whale). What I find interesting is that, on the brink of war, it does almost exactly the same thing that drove Churchill apoplectic over Blimp – here again we have a decent German, Chipping's friend Max played by Paul Henreid, whose passing in the Great War is honoured with all the other ex-Brookfield fallen.

It's a popular story that has been remade with Peter O'Toole as a musical lead and recently for TV with Martin Clunes.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 27/7/2010 3:15:03 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 11
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 27/7/2010 3:21:12 PM   
elab49


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Apartment Zero (Donovan, 1988)

This creepy little thriller stars Colin Firth as the owner of a revival cinema in Argentina.  His only interest in life other than the cinema is visiting his ill mother. Needing cash, Firth advertises for a room-mate to come share his apartment and soon Hart Bochner moves in. Firth is obviously attracted to him and the two soon embark on a relationship of co-dependence, mistrust and frustrated sexuality. Despite being set in Argentina, the location is largely unimportant as most of the action revolves around the apartment block and it could actually have been set nearly anywhere. Most of the tension comes from the mind-games played by the two leads and from how little of their motivations we actually know. It's easy to see the influence of films like Polanski's The Tenant on Apartment Zero and it lives in that same world of paranoia and isolation. 
Rawlinson
 


Family Life (Loach, 1971)

Family Life is a piece of realist cinema centering on a schizophrenic young woman and the possible reasons for her disturbance. Loach also filmed David Mercer's play under its original title – In Two Minds – for the BBC's Wednesday Play strand 4 years earlier. Amongst Mercer's other work at this time was Morgan, a Suitable Case for Treatment and one critic assessed them as dealing with themes of "social alienation expressed in terms of psychological alienation". Specifically, in this instance, it is the controversial ideas of RD Laing regarding schizophrenia that are dealt with. Essentially, if I'm reading it right, certain families create schizophrenics – as in 'they fuck you up your mum and dad'. So not an organic mental illness.

There also seem to be some differences to the original play transmission – here we see those questioning Janice (Sandy Ratcliff) on the screen, making it less directly involving for the viewer and the film ends less positively than the original. The documentary style, however, is maintained to the extent that though this is a drama, her psychiatrist isn't an actor but actually a psychiatrist. But her horrible parents are actors, and exceptionally well played by Bill Dean (who shall forever remain Harry Cross for younger viewers) and her mother Grace Cave whose first meeting with her daughter's psychiatrist seems to set out the stall for the generational differences that are considered, not entirely convincingly now, as part of the problem. The dated ideas, however, don't detract from the power of the story or the anger you should feel at the treatment meted out to a disturbed young woman.

Elab49

 


Meantime (Leigh, 1984)

Meantime is another film that deals with the struggles of the working class to survive under the Thatcher regime. Leigh focuses on a family struggling to survive on benefits. The parents (Pam Ferris and Jeff Robert) bicker while their eldest son is a nasty thug and the younger is a little slow witted. In contrast, Ferris's sisters lives a more privileged life in the suburbs, but her marriage is also failing.

Phil Daniels and Tim Roth both are excellent as the two sons. Also a stand-out is Gary Oldman as their skinhead friend. As always, Leigh was accused of patronising his characters, but I think there's a humanity in this film that almost overpowers the bleakness, and there's never a sense of mocking or of someone cruising among the lower classes. Little actually happens, but then the film is about boredom. The cast are impressive and Leigh's dialogue is as excellent as ever.
Rawlinson
 
 

Play for Today – Rumpole of the Bailey (Gorrie, 1975)
 
Rather apt timing to rewatch this. When Mortimer was tasked to write a script for Play for Today he decided he wanted to create a detective character like Sherlock Holmes! Post-transmission more scripts were sought for a series, and it would be another couple of years before Rumpole would appear in book form. There were hints and thoughts round the character reaching back to 1968, but it was in this play that Horace Rumpole was born.
 
So the Old Bailey hack himself first appeared in 1975, in a far more sombre and melancholy story than the resulting TV series would later bring us. Not that it stints on the humour – we get the same run down of the old darlings on the bench, the same 'ta da' moments as he enjoys the cross-examinations other barristers show little taste for. But treated as a one-off, it is the idea of a man at the end of his career and the state of his family life that gets considerably more focus than a normal episode. While Rumpole's marriage did occasionally hit very difficult times later on, there is a weakness to 'she must be obeyed', a sense of giving up  in this piece, that is of a different tone but also a greater strength in her relationship with Rumpole.
 
The tale itself, of a young black man falsely accused, is very much of its time (as is the language used by the characters). But the character of Rumpole is so beautifully drawn and played (by the wonderful Leo McKern), it is no surprise that there was an immediate desire to see more of him.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 25/1/2011 12:26:38 AM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 30/7/2010 11:25:54 AM   
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Blood On Satan's Claw (Haggard, 1971)
SPOILERS AHEAD


Synopsis: A 17th Century English village becomes possessed by The Devil.

Two things I should say to start off this review. Firstly, if you've never seen or are unfamiliar with the film, ignore the title. The film is nowhere near as corny as it suggests. It's part of that tradition of giving a horror film as lurid a title as possible in order to gain some notoriety.  Second, if you are familiar with the film but haven't seen it, you'll probably be aware that most discussion of this film at some point turns to Linda Hayden's nude scene. Yes, she looks beautiful. Yes, the scene is incredibly sexy.  No, it's not the only reason people like the film.

Anyway, onto the film itself. The basic plot revolves around a farmhand who discovers a deformed skull. Without knowing it, he's actually dug up some satanic beast. The beast then goes on to infect the children of the village, converting them to Satanism.

The film's greatest strength is that it just feels so authentic. While some of the effects relating to the demonic possession (A claw, strange furry skin) feel dated, the look and the feel of the film itself make it seem somehow like a genuine 17th Century village.  It feels like a companion piece to another British horror of the same period, Witchfinder General. They both have a brutal feel absent in Hammer/Amicus movies. One notable difference is in the way the witchhunter characters are portrayed. Vincent Price's Matthew Hopkins in Witchfinder is a sadistic man who takes pleasure in his power. Patrick Wymark's judge in this film is fighting evil because he has to, not because it can bring him rewards.

The film is beautifully crafted with an intense atmosphere. The director really makes good use of the beautiful, yet bleak and gloomy landscapes. The characters are well developed and the performances are all strong, in fact, I'd rank the acting as among the strongest in any horror film. Particular acclaim has to go to Linda Hayden's performance as Angel Blake. A difficult role to pull off, she needs to be able to be sweet and innocent, almost child-like at times and then change into pure evil. The character attempts to seduce a priest and leads the village children to rape and murder and she does it all without ever seeming over-the-top. It's a remarkable performance, one that would probably have gained award attention if it it wasn't in a horror film. (Or if the character and actor had been male) Her nude scene does need to be discussed. The fact that it seems to hold such a fascination has to be for a better reason than there just being a pretty woman naked on screen. It's all in her performance, the seductiveness and raw sexuality she displays. Why she wasn't one of the biggest stars of the era is a mystery. 

If the film slips up anywhere it's in its screenplay. Blood... was first planned as an anthology film but all three stories were conflated to form the film as we know it. As a result, the pacing can feel a little uneven at times. But that's a minor quibble for what is not only of the best horror films of the 1970s, but one of the finest of all time.

For anyone tempted to check the film out, try and get a hold of the dvd with a bonus commentary track from The League Of Gentlemen. The film was a huge influence on them and they provide a rambling, hilarious and informative commentary track.


Rawlinson
 
 

 
The English Patient (MInghella, 1996)
 
Minghella's adaptation of Ondaatje's English Patient is a relatively faithful one, although it finds more hope at the end of Hana's story than the source does.
 
French-Canadian (and rather fatalistic) nurse Hana stays behind with a patient too badly hurt to continue in their convoy. The tale of the nameless man – the eponymous miscategorised English Patient – is told in flashback to a love story that began before the war and ended in death and accusations of spying. The pair stay at a deserted villa, supplied with more than enough morphine to attract the tortured Caravaggio, a thief who was part of the tale being told by the dying man, and are also joined by a British bomb disposal unit, one of whom plays a part in Hana's own love story.
 
A big-budget melodrama, English Patient was the biggest winner at that years Oscars, including a gong, finally, for Australian cinematographer John Seale. It also shares the more ignominous record as being one of only a handful of Oscar winners not to make it to the top end of the box office charts.
Elab49
 

 
The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
 
This goth-favourite vampire movie is one of the few watchable films from Tony Scott. Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) is a centuries old vampire living in modern day New York. She's able to give her lovers a long life, but at a certain point their body will begin to rapidly age, something that's just begin to happen to her current lover, John (David Bowie). Miriam tries to start a new relationship with Sarah (Susan Sarandon) a doctor who investigates John's disorder. Miriam seduces Sarah (in the film's notorious lesbian love scene) but will Sarah allow herself to become a monster? Despite the criticism that's it all style and no substance, Scott manages to create something quite beautiful and haunting here, largely thanks to the performances from Deneuve and Sarandon.
Rawlinson
 
 
 

 
 
Night Mail (Watt, 1936)
 
One of the finest films to come out of the British documentary scene, Night Train is a wonderful short about the journey of a London to Scotland mail train, produced by the good old GPO. Night Mail goes through the various stages of the delivery process for the train as we follow it from station to station, "Bringing the cheque and the postal order." W.H. Auden was commissioned to write a poem, specially for the short, from which those famous lines are taken, and Benjamin Britten provided music. Auden's poem is designed to imitate the wheels of the train, slowly picking up speed until it reaches a breathless rhythm. The poem is outstanding, and just as importantly, so is the reading.

Night Mail is a far more interesting film than a simple synopsis might suggest. It speaks of the need for linking the nation and of making communication swifter and easier, but it also has great heart. There's a long-standing British fascination with the train, we tend to romanticize train travel and Night Mail taps into that aspect of the national subconscious. It's also an ambitious and experimental piece of film-making and I'd still rank it among the finest examples of film editing I've ever seen.

Rawlinson
 
 

 
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Stoppard, 1990)
 
Hamlet is to the Lion King what Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is to The Lion King 1.5 Hakuna Matata, only much, much better. Despite such a trite comparison, there is some meaning there. Taking peripheral characters and retelling the original story from their perspective is a genius concept that only Disney would be cheeky enough to rip off. But don't let this deter you from checking out a witty, irreverent retelling of a literary classic. Tom Stoppard's script is a precursor for his later work Shakespeare in Love. The writer (who went to the same school near York as I did) has a knack for taking what is too frequently reduced to dull classroom analysis (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet) and making it something vibrant, clever and very, very funny. Gary Oldman and Tim Roth make the two hapless protagonists tragic enough to feel sorry for them when it reaches the titular conclusion, yet likeable and real enough for us to overlook the inevitability of the dramatic irony. They are supported by a host of other talents (Richard Dreyfuss, Iain Glen) which make the Bard something that can be enjoyed. If this all sounds a bit too literary and self-consciously clever then I refer back to Shakespeare in Love. If you liked that, then you'll love this, as it is Stoppard's superior work. Which, when you consider how good that film was, is saying a lot.

Swordsandsandals.
 
 

 
Thunderball (1965, Young)
***spoilers below***


The most successful Bond film of all times (adjusted for inflation, of course) has received a lot of backlash over the years, and this forum is no exception. I can't, however, concur. Seeing it on a big screen 2 weeks ago was brilliant. Glorious restored widescreen did help, but the content is more important than the package, and while I'm admittedly getting less excited about Bond every week, the film is still brilliant.

Again, let me take you through the film, but less clumsily this time. The gun barrel sequence is inferior to Simmons's gun barrels; Connery wobbles too much. OK, now that's really nitpicking, but I still have a Bond nerd left in me. The pre-titles are good (although the editing in the fight is typically atrocious) since Connery shows why he is, and always will be Bond from the first second. The 'JB' fake lead is smartly done and while the jet-pack sequence is a bit silly, it contributes to the film's epic feel.
Hearing the song in a cinema was incredible. I sometimes get bored during titles, but certainly not this time. Jones+Binder+Barry=win. Then, we go to the SPECTRE meeting. The taglines for the film screamed: "This is the biggest Bond of all!” and indeed, the film makes everything bigger. From intimate surroundings of From Russia With Love's SPECTRE ship we go to a building in central Paris, which is BTW a great villain disguise. Number 1 is perhaps the best villain of the series, as he is terrifying even to his own people. Wiseman, who played Doctor No, provides the voice of the man with the white pussy (just wanted to use that line), and Dawson, who played Professor Dent, provides the body, so the two Doctor No baddies are re-united. Again, the scene establishes SPECTRE as no other could. We learn SPECTRE values integrity and loyalty above all, and we learn of their plans before anything even happens. Then, we see Bond again, but he's in a health clinic this time. Now I should tell you what my biggest criticism of the film is: it's the plot. Even for a Bond film, there are way too many coincidences, and one has to suspend disbelief all the time. This is proven by Shrublands, as even on holidays Bond bumps into the villains (like Poirot :P ).


Connery's performance in Thunderball may be my favourite Bond performance. He embodies Bond coolness, smugness, toughness, wit, and sexism. From throwing flowers on JB's dead body and picking up a grape in Lippe's room to shooting a henchman with a spear gun and quipping "I think he got the point” Connery is a super mega-cooleness star. No wonder the film got so much money. In You Only Live Twice, Connery was visibly bored of the role, but Thunderball is his best hour.
Another great thing about the film are the ladies. Fiona Volpe the Voluptuous is the stand-out. My vote for the sexiest girl of the series, and the best accent, too :P She is one of Bond's most interesting adversaries as she never goes to over the top but still manages to entertain. In one of the film's most random moments she picks Bond up on a deserted beach and drives him around so fast he asks whether she often flies there. This is followed by a typical exchange for Thunderball:


Fiona: Some men just don't like to be driven.
Bond: No, some men don't like to be taken for a ride.

Domino is also a great girl. Apart from the natural appeals, it appears Auger could actually act in the scenes like the casino or on the beach. Pat shows the sexism of the times by allowing Bond to practically rape her and appearing to still be willing. Paula is a piece of eye-candy we're not supposed to care about and we don't. The villains of the film are classic. Number 1 was mentioned above, and has the perfect voice for a villain. Volpe is a classic femme fatale, and Largo appears to be menacing enough, considering he doesn't have the guts to kill Bond.


Now I feel I should defend the film's most criticised scenes: the underwater scenes. Thunderball is one of the two Bond films to win an Oscar, and deservedly, too, the battles are wonderfully shot and staged. They are a joy to look at (well, I am biased, having seen them on a restored cinema widescreen), just like the rest of the film. Thunderball has perhaps the best cinematography of all Bond films and shows off its location for a reason. Plus, the underwater scenes have Barry's wonderful music to assist them in times of need. The use of silence is also great, strangely. The rest of the score is also great, particularly Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is in my opinion one of the best Bond songs and shouldn't have been dumped. The instrumental is great as well though.

Overall, Thunderball remains a highly exciting Bond adventure, combining the epic feel of Gilbert films and the coolness and toughness of the first three Bond films. The score, visuals, villains, girls, and mainly Bond all deliver very well. I forgot to mention M and Moneypenny, who are as always brilliant here. It is nice to see all 00s together for once, too. On the other hand, the plot is highly implausible and at times even random, but since it's a Bond film it's natural it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The highly criticised underwater scenes are actually exciting, except for the covering up of the plane which was admittedly very boring. The film still gets a near-perfect 9.5/10 from me.
MILES MESSERVY 007


< Message edited by elab49 -- 30/7/2010 11:31:37 AM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 13
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 30/7/2010 11:30:52 AM   
elab49


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Joined: 1/10/2005
 213
 

 
Genevieve (Cornelius, 1953)
 
Declined by Ealing but scripted by the man who would give us The Ladykillers, Genevieve is full of people who look like they are in one of those very styled 50s ads, all shiny colours and shiny hair. It's a tale set partly in the battle of the sexes as 2 couples mix and match on the annual London to Brighton car rally. With the filmmakers borrowing vintage cars for the shoot, the warring men (Ambrose being overly interested in Alan's wife) make an improper bet on a race during the return trip from Brighton. The long-suffering female companions can tend to stereotype but there is the occasional burst of spirit (or even trumpet), and this is more than mitigated by the presence of the two of the most immature and sulky male characters in British cinema. All in all it makes for a pleasant watch and there is also a rather lovely St Bernard.
 
And although it might seem the mildest of mild comedies, it had to have Larry Adler's name removed from the score in the US because he was one of many on the blacklist.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 30/7/2010 11:31:26 AM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 30/7/2010 11:34:11 AM   
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The Cement Garden (BIrkin, 1983)
 
The Cement Garden would make an ideal companion piece to Our Mother's House. Shortly after the death of their father, the mother of a large family also dies. To avoid being separated, the children decide to bury her body in cement in the basement. The fact that two of the children, Julie and Jack, are older (17 & 15) means that they cope quite well with daily life, taking over parental roles and starting an unsettling flirtation. All is fairly well until Julie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) starts a new relationship and Jack's incestuous feelings for her start to bubble over.

For some reason The Cement Garden has been largely neglected over the last decade and a half, but it's actually quite an interesting film. The children are better than they could have been and while it never has the same tension as something like Our Mother's House it captures a feel of lingering summer heat perfectly. A sensual and unsettling film that deserves far greater acclaim than its received, with a superb performance from Gainsbourg anchoring the film.


Rawlinson
 
 

 
Pink Floyd's The Wall (Parker, 1982)
 
Musical based on Pink Floyd's best-selling album. Bob Geldof plays Pink, the lead-singer of a rock band based loosely on Pink Floyd. The film, like the album, charts Pink's breakdown. Film's strongest aspect is the memorable animated scenes, provided by Gerald Scarfe, that break up the narrative.

Rawlinson

 

 
The Silent Village (Jennings, 1943)
 
Humphrey Jennings, the propagandist described by Lindsay Anderson in 1954 as "the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced". It's one of his few wartime efforts with a straightforward narrative, as he transplants Nazi atrocities in Lidice, Czechslovakia to a Welsh mining village. The intention was to bring the threat of invasion home, a goal that's chillingly realised in this horrifying film. The work hints at the depth and complexity of Jennings: the arrogant, tyrannical intellectual who grew to admire the stoicism of the working classes and observe and articulate the gentle rhythms of their lives; the state filmmaker who could effortlessly evoke the terror of war with economy and a complete absence of sensationalism. The first eight minutes of this short present magnificent vignettes - children playing by a stream, a Methodist choir, a mother cooking tea - that tranquility shattered by the arrival of a black car, playing marching music through a loudhailer. The Silent Village is a bleak companion piece to Went the Day Well? (see #91), an emotionally devastating movie about the ritual destruction of a community and its identity, shot through with a mixture of tender sentiment and white-hot fury.

Favourite bit: The firing squad sequence, which is as upsetting as movies get.

A bit of background on the director: Humphrey Jennings was a Cambridge-educated poet and painter who came to film with a mercenary mind. Needing money to support his young family, and finding little from his artistic endeavours, he got a job at GPO (later the Crown Film Unit), the Post Office's public information division. Irritating his new workmates by constantly patronising their state education and their films, he injected life into the work: his riotous sense of humour producing a series of delirious, slapstick jaunts, miles away from what the unit had been churning out. A founder of mass observation and the organiser of the first major Surrealism exhibition in Britain, he was individualistic, arrogant, high-minded to the point of being blinkered. Colleagues say he was the most shouty man in western Europe. When Britain declared war on Germany, the newly-renamed Crown Film Unit switched to propaganda films. And Jennings, until then an enfant terrible with a wicked superiority complex, began to produce dazzling, freeform hymns to Britain. The tougher the war became - and the more time he spent with the working-class subjects he shot - the more elegiac, touching, empathetic and gentle his films seemed to become.
The Heart of Britain, an ode to the industrial north, has the best ending of any film I've ever seen. Cutting its footage of bombed-out buildings to Beethoven's 5th, it splices in interview clips with female workers, ARPs and steelworkers. "No-one with impunity threatens the Heart of Britain," thunders a voiceover. "We will hit back." Then, to choral hallelujahs, a Spitfire takes off.

See also:
Spare Time, Jennings' first masterpiece, a 15-minute portrait of British industrial workers and their families at play. The sequence set to Handel's Largo is magic. Words for Battle, The True Story of Lilli Marlene and The Heart of Britain (with that incredible finale implying a divine right to military victory) are all exceptional, while Fires Were Started - Jennings' sole feature - is an ultra-realistic drama-documentary about firemen in wartime Britain.
Rick_7


< Message edited by elab49 -- 30/7/2010 11:36:28 AM >


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quote:

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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 30/7/2010 11:36:15 AM   
elab49


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209
 

 
Witchfinder General (Reeves, 1968)
 
SPOILERS AHEAD

Synopsis: During the English Civil War, notorious witchfinder Matthew Hopkins abuses his position and imposes a reign of terror.

Based on the real-life exploits of Matthew Hopkins, a lawyer who claimed to have been appointed by the King to hunt down witches, Witchfinder General is one of the most brutal and realistic horror films I've ever seen. A companion piece in many ways to Blood On Satan's Claw, Witchfinder manages to capture a past century England in the same miraculous way. Many films and shows rely on costumes and props to recreate past times, Witchfinder feels authentic, as if you're watching something captured at the time.

The plot focuses on Richard Marshall (Oglivy) and his lover Sara (Hilary Dwyer). Sara is the neice of priest of her village, and both her and her uncle have become outcasts. Richard and Sara marry in secret but Richard has to return to the war. In his absence Hopkins (Vincent Price) arrives at the village and imprisons the priest and tortures him on suspicion of witchcraft. Sara offers Hopkins sex in return for her uncle's freedom, a deal Hopkins breaks after his assistant rapes Sara. When Richard discovers what has happened in his absence, he vows revenge on the witchfinder.

Brutality and violence seeps from this movie. The movie is about what turns people to hate, and what that hate can then make them capable of. Price, often overlooked as an actor, here restrains his more hammish tendancies and delivers a chillingly restrained performance as Hopkins. There's none of the macabre wit you usually associate with Price's villain roles. Hopkins is a man who spouts platitudes about good and evil while using his power to gain himself riches and women. He could have easily have been a barnstorming villain but Price makes him grim and frightening.

Reeves, the talented young director of Witchfinder, died shortly after completing this film, his third. If you watch his three films back to back, you can see his skills develop from film to film, and we can only imagine what astonishing work would have come after Witchfinder.

I said that Witchfinder is brutal, and it is. But it's not brutal for the sake of it. It doesn't revel in its own atrocities in the way that some recent horrors do. It's savage because the time was savage and because the acts were savage. There's no lingering on the violence, no gornography, everything is cold, matter-of-fact, and that makes the film far more disturbing than any number of torture porns can claim to be.


Rawlinson
 
Witchfinder General is great, great, great and great fun, with a fantastic, deliciously classy and evil performance by Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins, a genuine bastard who goes around and enjoys killing people under the accusation of witchcraft (like Pigeon Army then, oh and it is based in the English Civil War). He finds his match when he executes a priest whose niece is marrying a soldier. The soldier, played by rather gallantly (though he later descends into obsessive madness) by Ian Ogilvy. These two performances are fine, though the rest of the performances can either be very camp or just passable. The production design is rather stunning and the whole plot, which can considered as genre-busting, is riveting. It's a massive shame that Micheal Reeves died so young, with this film he showed great potential and talent.
Deviation
 
In the chaos of the English Civil War, Matthew Hopkins takes advantage of the lack of ultimate authority to prosecute men and women reported by their neighbours for witchcraft. Arriving in a small village to begin the torture and eventual murder of a local priest, he takes advantage of the man's scared niece's attempt to save her uncle. The girl is later raped by Hopkin's angry sidekick. These actions lead to their eventual doom as the victim is the wife-to-be of a very angry soldier in Cromwell's army who finally tracks them down. One thing to note – witchfinders do not believe in swimming.  And the ending is a lot bleaker than you'd expect.

It's always so sad when you watch a film that clearly has an immense talent behind it knowing that he died soon after, leaving very little work behind. Witchfinder General feels like it should be like a normal Hammer offering. But there is something harsher going on on the screen, a feeling for the violence (which is unpleasant,  as it should be), and for the characters in the tale being told that gives it greater depth than most of even the best of Hammer. The making of the film has gone down in lore because of the fractious relationship between Reeves and his leading man Price in the former's attempt to ensure there is no hamming on the screen. This led to the possibly apocryphal but fabulous quote with Price lambasting Reeves with how many films he's made and asking what he had done – the response 'I've made two good ones'. Earlier this year there was even a radio play Vincent Price and the Horror of the English Blood Beast, which was clearly exaggerated but also seems to acknowledge Price's realisation after the fact of what an excellent performance Reeves nagging had gotten out of him. I'd highly recommend the play if you do get a chance to hear it – it really plays it for laughs.

Elab49


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 30/7/2010 11:40:20 AM   
elab49


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Becket (Glenville, 1964)
 
This is a gobsmacking two-hander that not only features one of cinema's finest acting tussles, pitting the mercurial Richard Burton against his drinking buddy Peter O'Toole, but also offers perhaps the most powerful affirmation of faith on film. Burton is Thomas Becket, a womanising, boozing rascal who carouses with King Henry II (O'Toole), then acts as his puppet, only to hear the call of a new master when he's appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. This is no stodgy history lesson, nor a period pageant, but an emotionally charged character drama that asks: would you die for what you believe in? Though there's also a subtext about the virilence of racism, the film never feels preachy, getting an injection of humour from John Gielgud's superb supporting performance (a dry run for his scene-stealing turn in Brideshead Revisited) and O'Toole's barracking of his family. The spectacular widescreen photography adds further spectacle and grandeur to a film that's emphatically cinematic, while Glenville's direction is mercifully free of the irritating, pointless tics and trickery of much mid-'60s cinema. Atheists and agnostics may find the film less powerful than I did, but should still be able to revel in the performances. The movie's only real mis-step is the presentation of the Pope, a cynical, satirical view of the upper echelons of the church that might be legitimate, but isn't very well realised and doesn't necessarily fit. But despite that, and the fact it's based on a discredited history book that mistakenly identified Becket as a Saxon (a key tenet of the story), this is a remarkable, must-see movie.

Favourite bit: Becket and Henry meet on the beach at the height of their dispute, their conversation loaded with nostalgia for the past and portents for the future. 

Rick_7.
 
 

Culloden (Watkins, 1964)
 
With Culloden, Peter Watkins turned his documentary style to the famous 18th Century battle of Culloden Moor, between the Scottish Jacobites and the English army. Watkins uses the conceit of having documentary crews interviewing both armies and covering the battle as if it was a news broadcast. We find out personal details of various participants from both sides of the battle, the information given about their background helping to make their bloody fate even more hard-hitting. Neither side come out of it well, but the English are by far seen to be more brutal. They murder the wounded, kill innocents and engage in a post-battle campaign that resembles ethnic cleansing. Watkins intended the film as a parallel to the ongoing Vietnam War, and he used the news coverage of the events as a guideline for his own approach, but the film is just as relevant to any war. Watkins not only shows the parallels between wars, but he also re-examines history and brings to life an event that to many was just an accepted and long-forgotten battle.  It's a gritty piece, an anti-war film that really brings home the brutality of conflict and the extremes to which people can be driven. it may not have been as immediate at the time as The War Game, but it's another vital piece of cinema from Watkins. 
Rawlinson
 
 

 
The Escapist (Wyatt, 2008)  
Rupert Wyatt's stellar debut tells the tale of Frank Perry (Brian Cox), a lifer in a prison on the outskirts of London. Discovering that his beloved daughter has become a drug addict and that something needs to be done, Frank pulls together a typical rag-tag group of prisoners - the brains, the brawn, the experienced, the newbie - to help him bust out of prison. It's a story pretty typical of the prison break subgenre, but Wyatt's film distinguishes itself from the pack in a number of ways, each more fascinating and appealing than the last. The prison itself is the most obvious, a multi-storied gothic monstrosity that exudes menace and demands consistent lawlessness of its inhabitants (the guards do very little and the prison is essentially 'ruled' by the tightly-wound Rizza (Damien Lewis)). It's incredibly visually striking and Wyatt does wonders making you feel just how restrictive and utterly hopeless an environment it is. Furthermore, the performances are all fantastic, with Dominic Cooper and Seu Jorge offering great turns as targeted newbie James Lacey and prison drug producer Viv Batista respectively, and Brian Cox turning in an Oscar-worthy turn as Frank, embodying the man's resignation to the operations of the prison and dedication to his family and the paternal duties he perceives in his life. There's also the narrative, which alternates between the build-up to and the execution of the prison break with impeccable skill and pacing and crafting memorable characters and tense moments aplenty in the process. While the film loses a bit of impact on second viewing due to what happens in the final act, it's still an astounding film and one that needs, nay, demands more coverage.

Pigeon Army
 


 
Omnibus - Whistle and I'll Come to You (Miller, 1968)
 
Jonathan Miller's adaptation of M.R. James classic ghost story stands among the finest films of 1960s British cinema. James's stories stood as warnings to those who delve to deeply into forbidden knowledge or areas where they didn't belong. Whistle tells the story of Professor Parkins, an academic who takes a holiday to the eastern coast of England. While exploring the shore area, he discovers an old whistle inscribed with a phrase in Latin, 'Who is this who is coming?'. When Parkins blows the whistle, someone, or something, answers the call. He becomes haunted by dreams of being followed along the beach, and he soon finds he is no longer alone in his hotel room. Parkins is a rational figure whose disbelief in the supernatural becomes shaken to the core. Michael Hordern gives an endlessly inventive performance as Professor Parkins. By turns he is argumentative, comedic, eccentric, arrogant and blinkered to the feelings of others, yet still pulling great empathy from the viewer. The performance is possibly the finest the great actor ever gave. Miller also shows a great talent at capturing the sense of quiet foreboding of James' stories, turning the windswept coastline into a desolate area where nightmares live, and conjuring phantoms out of the everyday. 
Rawlinson
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 30/7/2010 11:41:13 AM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 1/8/2010 2:54:10 PM   
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School for Scoundrels (Hamer, 1960)

In real life Stephen Potter wrote a series of humorously spoof self-help books covering topics like gamesmanship and lifemanship. They were adapted for screen by, oddly, the man who co-wrote the brilliant Night of the Demon, Hal E Chester and the appeal was obvious -  Are you constantly outdone by rivals? Are you too nice to get on in life? Well come to Potter's Academy and all will be well - the lessons of Lifemanship will be your guide.

Casting is, of course, perfect no-one could have bettered Sim's graduation ceremony or the sheer pain behind 'Nooooooo, not sincerity, Palfrey!' before he breaches the 4th wall lamenting decency. Don't be put off watching this by the turd of a remake. It's one of Carmichaels best performances moving from his normal dippy toff to Potter's top student and even outdoes Terry-Thomas's increasingly exasperated bounder, Dennis Price and Peter Jones's crooked car salesman and his uncle's former right hand man. All to get the girl.

 
Peter Jones turned up again in Barry Took's lost BBC TV adaptation in the 70s One-Upmanship. There's a future DVD request if ever there was one.
Elab49


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 1/8/2010 2:54:17 PM   
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Amazing Grace (Apted, 2006)

I'm both thrilled and surprised to see Michael Apted's inspiring, thoughtful film about William Wilberforce make this list. The critical reception was lukewarm on most fronts, and the only times I've heard it mentioned on the forums were when I was talking about it. But hopefully now that it has made the list, more of you will check it out. Technically, there is nothing special here – the camerawork is sensible, as are the casting decisions, locations and costumes – radical this is not. But films don't have to be revolutionary to be powerful. The central character of Wilberforce (portrayed with humour and grace by Ioan Gruffudd) provides a strong emotional core to a film that, based on early 19th century politics, could easily have been dry. Romola Garai as the love interest also adds warmth, making Amazing Grace a personal film as well as historical. So as a result, we have a mighty film driven by people and ideas, making you see the passion behind the politics, and may well inspire you too to stand against injustice. This may sound a little grand and worthy, but Amazing Grace is an emotional, affecting work about how it is possible to stand for what you believe in, and that, above anything else, is why this magnificent film deserves to be in this list.
Swordsandsandals




Bloody Sunday (Greengrass, 2002)
 
Despite the increase in both fame and acclaim that Paul Greengrass has received over the last decade, he has never topped this heart-wrenching film depicting the events that took place in Derry on the 30th of January 1972. Bloody Sunday stars James Nesbitt (An astonishing performance that should have seen him take home an Oscar) as Ivan Cooper, a member of Parliament and one of the leaders of the Northern Ireland civil rights march. We see the Bloody Sunday massacre through his eyes. Cooper imagined a peaceful protest, a dream shattered as British paratroopers moved in to stop the march. Bloody Sunday is a powerful and chilling film, an attempt to document an event that saw the loss of 13 lives, set back the peace process and boosted IRA recruitment. A true masterpiece of modern cinema.
Rawlinson
 
 
 

 
Queen on Fire: Live at the Bowl (Taylor, 2004)

Film from the 1982 concert at Milton Keynes Bowl.
 
And it's awesome! Great songs great music, great showmanship. And a masterpiece of sartorial design too! I'm not sure who had the best clothes. John Deacon's Hilda Ogden top is bettered only by his "Freddie Starr ate my Hamster" one, but we can't discount Freddie's Betty Boop tee either. And I really, really want one of those multi-belted yellow coats. But watching the concert fully for the first time, it's great to see improvisational nature of the show and pick up on all the moments that created a reaction on the live CD. I particularly liked the gigantic Kind of Magic caricature balloons that were released. It's probably their best video that's been released so far, apart from maybe Live Aid or the Rio concert. I wish we had more. Some of the bootlegs from their early concerts (Houston in '77, Paris in '78, Hammersmith in '75) are pure brilliance and it'd be awesome to have footage of them. But never mind. We still have this, the worlds best band giving one of their biggest and best shows, and it's one of the best things in existence.
Gimli the Dwarf
 
 

 
Small Faces (MacKinnon, 1995)
 
MacKinnon sets his tale in a 60s Glasgow just after Jimmy Boyle was sent to Barlinnie. A fatherless family of 3 – Bobby, not quite right in the head, Alan, the artist and 13 year old Lex trying to work out where he stands – is caught up in the warfare between the Glens and the Tongs, unhelped by Alan's relationship by a young woman linked to both gang leaders.
 
Each brother is finely drawn and impressively played. Steven Duffy's Bobby, Charlie Sloan's right hand man, has been damaged by a violent father and experiences relative few moments of actual lucidity. Alan is the only one to actively avoid the gangs, wanting to stick with his art although his run-in with Sloan does lead to a gloriously anarchic scene as the gang runs round the pre-refurbishment Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
 
The film centres on Lex, young Iain Robertson, stuck between the two. Angry at his eldest brother but terrified after accidentally hurting the leader of the rival Tongs, he bounces back and forth between the gangs, a catalyst for the violence to come. Robertson gives us an angry and unfocussed young man – vague hopes of a future in art, like Alan, clash with his attempt to play the big man and seeming vulnerability at the possibility his mother might move on into another relationship, even though he is clearly fond of the man involved.
 
MacKinnon is clearly feeling a strong vein of nostalgia in presenting the Glasgow of his teenage years but I'd guess from his handling here that he may have avoided much of the violence himself. Not that he doesn't convince – the threat of impending violence is regularly played and played well. Emotionally bleak but with some comic moments, I'd also give a nod to the camerawork which, particularly when Lex entered the land of the Tongs, takes the wasteland and the highrises and gives them a peculiar form of beauty, with the colours and the landscape glinting off the dead water pools. The opening scene as Lex appears to be drawing the gang landscape and boundaries of Glasgow in a big colour drawing is also pretty amazing.
 
In other news, I actually think a couple of my cousins where extras, so I can claim it as a family project, even if the gangs of my dad's youth were more to the east of the Sarry Head.
Elab49
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 1/8/2010 3:02:18 PM >


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 1/8/2010 2:54:25 PM   
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Hillsborough (McDougall, 1996)
 
Jimmy McGovern had already tackled the after-effects of Hillsborough in the remarkable Cracker storyline, 'To Be a Somebody'. But some of the families were upset at the depiction of grief leading to the creation of a serial killer. McGovern made amends two years later he would write this astonishing one-off drama about the event itself. We're introduced to several of the families who lost people on those days, making the deaths more personal and harrowing. Christopher Eccleston and Ricky Tomlinson lead the cast, but both men lose themselves in their characters, giving heartbreaking and vanity-free performances. Hillsborough lays the blame for the disaster firmly at the feet of incompetent South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Duckenfield.  It documents the tragedy itself, showing the mistakes Duckenfield made, and the aftermath, where families fell apart and the police, along with tabloid rag The Sun, attempted to lay the blame for Hillsborough on the fans themselves. Hillsborough is an angry film, filled with grief and rage. It shows the deep scars that the tragedy left on these Liverpool families, and the cowardice of the police force who attempted to blame them.
Rawlinson
 
 

 
The Mouse That Roared (Arnold, 1959)
 
The plot of this film is sheer awesomeness, and I shall recite it to you now. Peter Sellers plays three parts in Jack Arnold's comedy; the Grand Duchess Gloriana XII of Grand Fenwick, Prime Minister Count Rupert Mountjoy of Grand Fenwick, and Tully Buscombe, general of Grand Fenwick's modest army. Fenwick is the smallest country in the world, located somewhere in the French Alps, and – impoverished as it is – it decides to wage a war against the USA, hoping to lose and reap the rewards of rehabilitation. However, Tully accidentally wins, capturing General Snippet (MacDonald Parke), Professor Alfred Kokintz (David Kossoff), his daughter Helen (Jean Seberg), and the dread, potentially devastating Q-bomb. The reason I've taken great lengths to recite the plot (or at least the plot of the first twenty five minutes of the film; there is plenty more afterwards) is because it's absolutely genius, a fantastic concept with brilliant possibilities. I almost expected the film to be disappointing or unable to live up to its promise, but it is really a classic, with three fantastic Sellers performances (particularly as the hapless Tully) and some really quite brilliant gags. The 'this isn't the end of our film' gag is the highlight of the film, beautifully done and hilariously irrelevant, but there's high, prolific, and (most importantly) efficient gag rate in this film that meant I was laughing every couple of minutes. The script is superb, particularly when the troops of Grand Fenwick 'invade' New York with hilarious consequences, and one of the soldiers is determined to win and claim his rewards ("See that building there?”… "Yeah”… "Well I saw it first. It's mine.”). Most of all, though, it's Sellers who is the heart of this film, giving three very different performances as the hopeless hero Tully, the malevolent Count Rupert, and the surreally clueless Gloriana, showcasing his wide range of comedic talent. It also has Jean Seberg, which is enough to make any film awesome.
Piles
 
 

 
A Passage to India (Lean, 1984)
 
This EM Forster adaptation was David Lean's final film as a director, and the first in which he took the editing credit since the start of his directing career. Curiously it appeared in the same year as the TV adaptation of the Raj Quartet, Jewel in the Crown – both stories focus on an Indian male being accused of rape during the turmoil before Indian Independence.
 
Mrs Moore (Oscar winner Peggy Ashcroft) arrives in India with her son's fiancιe. Mrs Moore befriends a young Indian Dr, Aziz and takes up his offer of a trip to see the 'real' India. They journey to a series of caves and an incident occurs with the younger woman – Adela – accusing Dr Aziz of rape. In the midst of protests against the Empire the accusation by a white woman against an Indian has the colonials up in arms, with worse to come when the case finally reaches court.
 
 A difficult working relationship didn't prevent a strong performance from Judy Davis as Adela Quested, ably supported by Ashcroft and Victor Bannerjee although Alec Guinness's sop for missing out on Gandhi, Professor Godbole, is a little less successful.
Elab49


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 1/8/2010 2:56:34 PM   
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Play for Today - The Elephant's Graveyard (Mackenzie, 1976)
 
Spoilers ahead

Peter McDougall was one of the most insightful writers of the 1970s, but most people probably don't recognise the name. He wrote a series of films for the Play for Today series, all revolving around contemporary Scottish life. Each is a minor masterpiece, but my favourite is The Elephant's Graveyard. The Elephant's Graveyard is often considered somehow lesser than the other films, I think possibly because it has less of an immediate statement to make than Just a Boy's Game (Razor Gangs) or Just Another Saturday (Orange walks) This film is more introspective and intimate, it's also his most charming and whimsical film, with the pastoral setting providing the perfect background for the day of play that follows.

Jon Morrison plays Bunny, a young man who has been lying to his wife about his employment. He's told her he's found a job as a postman, but he's really spending his days wandering the hills around Glasgow. By chance one day he happens to meet Jody (Billy Connolly)  who's been playing the same trick on his own wife. The two spend the day together, telling stories, playing games, drinking wine and trying to outdo each other with childish dares and boasts.  If the ending takes the film into supernatural territory (which I believe it does) it still doesn't conflict with the essential nature and themes of the film. The Elephant's Graveyard is about the loss of youth and what the responsibility of being grown-up actually means. It's also about how life throws us in directions we don't necessarily want to go in, we merely do so out of a sense of duty or expectation. This is something that runs through McDougall's work, but I think it's stated most beautifully here. The setting helps set up the theme, despite the harshness of the city, it's still possible to escape into another world, just as Jody and Bunny escape their responsibilities for a second childhood.

Director Mackenzie is another underrated talent, but all through the 70s he was proving his worth with superb films like this. He doesn't get a lot to do, but he makes the most of his moments, such as managing to make an unseen battle somehow exciting. The script is a two-hander and it's incredibly dialogue-heavy, so the success of the film rests on Morrison and Connolly. Morrison had already proved himself as a talented actor, but this was Connolly's first real role. Connolly is often an underrated actor, partly because of the roles he chooses, but partly because he's such a vivid personality that I think people have trouble seeing him as anyone other than The Big Yin. His best roles show what a loss he actually is to acting, his work here especially. Connolly and Morrison bounce off each other perfectly with Connolly providing the right element of elder brother fun, glint-in-the-eye charm and "windswept and interesting" mystery to make Jody work as he needs to. As the two part ways at the end, we're left with wondering if we've just watched a ghost story, the creation of an imaginary friend from a mind that's being stifled, the projection of a guilty conscience or a warning message. However you interpret this enigmatic gem, it doesn't change how funny the film is, how accurately it nails male bonding, or how amazingly talented everyone involved was.

Rawlinson
 
 

 
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Ritchie, 1998)

Maybe it's a little lazy saying that Guy Ritchie is the British Tarantino, as although Tarantino did raise the bar for the quality of crime movies in the '90s there were filmmakers who reached it but with their own distinctive style. And so Ritchie arrives with this fresh, spunky, frenetically paced and darkly funny crime caper. Unlike Tarantino, Ritchie doesn't seem interested in the quieter moments and his film is all adrenaline. Whilst Ritchie packs in as many fresh cinematic techniques as he can he still gives nods to classic British crime movies and seems to be influenced as well from Scorsese and the Spaghetti western.

The plot demands your attention as there is a lot of players in this wicked cocktail of violence and humour. The surprising standouts are Sting and Vinnie Jones no less (the latter never has matched his turn here and no doubt never will - please give up!). Whilst our four main protagonists are played with the right mix of cheeky charm and cockney winks. Jason Statham is particularly endearing here (and in Ritchie's next film) because he is playing a character who is out of his depth which is a fine contrast to his usual boring indestructible hero.

With Ritchie's apparent (haven't managed to catch it yet) return to form, it's worth revisiting where it all began with this fantastic offbeat and proudly British debut.
Beetlejuice!


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 1/8/2010 2:58:44 PM   
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Man on Wire (Marsh, 2008)
 
Enthralling documentary about Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the twin towers in the mid 70s. Marsh uses footage shot at the time, along with recreations, to present Petit's story almost as a crime thriller. Petit is a compelling subject, enthusiastic in interviews to the extent that it seems he can't sit still a minute. The film perfectly captures the joy of Petit's displays. The footage of Petit on the high-wire is breath-taking and transcendent, you're witnessing what someone can do when they have the desire and the capability. It's a true uplifting moment. Petit's act may have been a crime, but it was also a great work of art and Man on Wire is a great film. 
Rawlinson
 

Marsh's bittersweet, inspiring, beautiful, funny, warm, suspenseful and at times dreamlike documentary about Philippe Petit, Man on Wire, focusing on his outstanding (and probably insane) stunt in the Twin Towers when he walked from one tower to another on a wire hundred feet high. The only negative I can think of this is when the film plods slightly in the second delaying slightly the spectacular endeavor, otherwise it works beautifully. The recreations can share the magical fantastical simplicity of something made by Maddin, Petit's enthusiastic narration is very engaging to listen and the film is played out like a heist film of the highest quality. What is not to love? 
Deviation


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 1/8/2010 3:00:49 PM   
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Britannia Hospital (Anderson, 1982)
 
More broadly comic than its predecessors in the tale of Mick Travis, Britannia Hospital turned out as an undeserved failure. The difference in tone from If... and O, Lucky Man! may well have been a factor, as well as the near absence of Travis himself from the bulk of the film, but the quality of comic performance in this vicious attack on Thatcherite Britain must surely allow the film to survive on its own merit.
 
The workers at Britannia Hospital are on strike – picketing outside (including an almost slim blink and you'll miss it role for Robbie Coltrane) and heading out of the kitchen, they threaten the success of the impending royal visit to open a new high-science wing. The wing is under the authority of mad doctor Graham Crowden (although when noting the actor playing him, you hardly need to state the character is clearly mad), who is introduced as he drives through and into the picket on his way to work. The opening ceremony coincides with the conclusion of his 'genesis' project – his attempt to fly in the face of normal accidental evolution, and the film is structured round the progress of that project and his final speech to the rioters and the royals alike. Travis has a minor role as a journalist attempting to out the mad doctor's activities, while ending up an integral part of them.
 
Around them the hospital is desperately trying to get the visit arranged – boss Leonard Rossiter and right hand man Brian Pettifer, barter places at the Royal feast to get things on track while dealing with the odd couple from the Palace and Fulton MacKay on security duty. Outside the bombs and riots in London are coming to a head on Britannia's doorstep and all hell is about to break loose.
 
While it occasionally loses focus in terms of what it is actually attacking, Anderson's film stays relatively tight as a black comedy. The likes of Rossiter and Crowden easily overcome any gaps in the points being made by wonderful performances and absolute commitment to the insanity they intend to perpetrate.
 
Britannia Hospital is a film that failed not because of the film itself but because the critics expected something else and IMO didn't judge it on its own merits. As a broader dark comedy that, for all the insanity that precedes it, serves to acknowledge that humanity is the best we're going to get, it does succeed.
Elab49
 

 
Gandhi (Attenborough, 1982)
 
Smith and Jones - "I was walking down the street, just the other day, feeling a little randy. Who should I see, coming up to me? If it wasn't my old mate Gandhi. Gandhi! Gand-eeee! If it wasn't my old mate Gandhi."

Attenborough's plush biopic begins, unusually, with a statement of intent. It apologises up front if it fails to give due weight to certain events of historical importance and emphasises this is a story of a man and an attempt to explain who he was.

It follows a fairly standard format after that – starting at the end with Gandhi's assassination it then flashes back to the 'beginning' of his story – not his youth but the beginning of a non-violent protest as a lawyer in South Africa after being thrown off a train just for being an Indian. After the success of the campaign (for Indians, no change for the black population of South Africa), he heads home to India to fight for independence from Britain, although the later internal clashes between Hindus and Muslims is less clearly defined.

Ben Kingsley is an impressive lead, taking Gandhi convincingly through a good half decade before his death. He receives wonderful support from the likes of Roshan Seth as Nehru and a host of excellent British actors taking on roles for and against independence, including the late Ian Charleson. American interest is sought through the casting of Martin Sheen and Candice Bergen as real and not so real journalists.

A multi-Oscar winner for Attenborough, Gandhi is a good example of a prestige biopic, benefiting from a solid production and excellent performances throughout.
Elab49
 
 

A LIfe Less Ordinary (Boyle, 1997)
 
A Life Less Ordinary was the film that started the downturn in Danny Boyle's popularity, and on the surface of it it's easy to see why. Following the darker Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, this tale of kidnap/lovers on the run, set in America, with an on-the-rise Cameron Diaz must have seemed like Boyle selling out. In truth, it's not a patch on his earlier work, but it's still an entertaining and quirky little film. When Ewan McGregor's character, a janitor for a large corporation, finds he's being replaced he snaps and kidnaps his boss's daughter (Cameron Diaz). Throw in a subplot about angels being charged to make sure a couple fall in love and stay together, you have something a little bit different than the average Hollywood rom-com. It could have a female lead who can actually act, but the rest of the cast, including Ewan McGregor, Ian Holm, Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo are all on top form and it's an enjoyable film, even if it does fall short of the rest of Boyle's work. 
Rawlinson
 
 

 
Queen: Live at Wembley Stadium (Taylor, 1986)

During their touring career, Queen performed 704 concerts. The 694th took place at Wembley Stadium on July 12th 1986, less than a month before their final performance. It apparently almost didn't happen, the architectural plans for the stadium not being accurate, so last minutes changes had to be made to the design of the stage. Selling out the stadium for the second night running (achieved at the point only by Bruce Stringbean and The Rolling Stones), the concert was recorded for broadcast by Channel 4. For many years, it was only available in truncated form on VHS, or in full on CD, but the whole thing is now available on DVD. And it's awesome! Great songs great music, great showmanship. And a masterpiece of sartorial design too! I'm not sure who had the best clothes. John Deacon's Hilda Ogden top is bettered only by his "Freddie Starr ate my Hamster" one, but we can't discount Freddie's Betty Boop tee either. And I really, really want one of those multi-belted yellow coats. But watching the concert fully for the first time, it's great to see improvisational nature of the show and pick up on all the moments that created a reaction on the live CD. I particularly liked the gigantic Kind of Magic caricature balloons that were released. It's probably their best video that's been released so far, apart from maybe Live Aid or the Rio concert. I wish we had more. Some of the bootlegs from their early concerts (Houston in '77, Paris in '78, Hammersmith in '75) are pure brilliance and it'd be awesome to have footage of them. But never mind. We still have this, the worlds best band giving one of their biggest and best shows, and it's one of the best things in existence.
Gimli the Dwarf
 
 

Things to Come (Menzies, 1936)
 
It might come as a surprise that HG Wells was not only still alive in the 30s/40s but actually has screenwriting to his name. As well as this adaptation of his own 1933 novel – The Shape of Things to Come – he contributed to another Korda work, The Man Who Could  Work Miracles as well as the Charles Crichton segment of Dead of Night.
 
The story follows the city of Everytown and the Cabal family 100 years into the future after a bombing raid leads to worldwide war. We follow the war for decades through technological advances like gas killing more and more people until people forget who was fighting whom and for what. The Boss is in charge (Ralph Richardson), a man who eradicates the sick while Harding's descendent tries to save them. But thanks to Wings Over the World, some civilisation has survived although even progress there has its detractors.  
 
Things to Come is both a hymn to technology and a warning against its misuse. Wells gives a vision of brutish dictatorship that Orwell would admire, but doubts Utopia could ever be perfect, touching on some political ideas he dealt with elsewhere in his fiction as well.
 
Korda's film also seen as somewhat prescient – the prediction of the impact of strategic bombing came before the tactic was used in Spain and later during WWII and was noted in political circles at the time. Wells had warned of the perils of such bombing for decades.
 
We are fortunate to have recently been provided with a partly restored version of the film, although, like Capra's Lost Horizon, there also exists a cobbled together version that includes the full restoration and stills and scraps of audio to bring it closer to the original length.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 25/1/2011 12:35:32 AM >


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 12:32:05 PM   
elab49


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The Cruel Sea (Frend, 1953)
 
It's perfectly obvious that this was a post-war film about WWII – no film during the war would start off by introducing us to new officers straight from too short a period of training and without a clue, before heading off to war. It wouldn't do moral much good.
 
The war film was a highly successful genre in the 1950s in terms of box office. With the UK's place in the world plummeting and the Empire falling apart, even those few short years after a war with an unambiguous enemy that we won had great nostalgia value. Most didn't do as well critically but The Cruel Sea was deservedly one of the few that did, as well as being top earner at the UK box office in the year of release.
 
The film follows the convoys in the North Atlantic by focussing on one of the ships that protects them. Starting off with its commission, it takes a quite realist approach to life on board the ship and in the convoy. There are moments of real tension as the U Boats track them through harsh seas and on board ship as a martinet first lieutenant serves to bond the new sub-lieuts into a team. The ship itself is anthropomorphised as a woman protecting them all. Most interestingly, the story covers some very morally difficult decisions taken by the captain – the lives of the many over the lives of the few, with the key one followed by a lovely scene with some of his fellow captains whom the ship had saved.
 
The film is scripted by Eric Ambler who as an author wrote some great thrillers but on screen tended to script films about the sea and seemed to quite like sinking ships. Most takes board in the ship with the best scenes being between the subs (including Donald Sinden and Denholm Eliott) and with Jack Hawkins giving one of his best performances as ship captain. There are some forays on shore to provide some love interests for the main characters and to remind the audience of what was going on at home when it visits the homelife of one of the lower ranking sailors on board.
 
One of the best war films of the 50s but oddly one of the lesser known ones, The Cruel Sea is one of the best naval films ever made with a title as apt as any you'll see.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 25/1/2011 12:37:19 AM >


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 12:34:43 PM   
elab49


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The Falls (Greenaway, 1980)
 
Synopsis: 92 Biographies of people who have been affected by a VUE, a Violent Unknown Event. All the biographies are of people whose surname begins with the letters FALL.

Peter Greenaway is a name that tends to send a lot of people running for cover. His work isn't easy to digest. Even his most accessible work (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover) qualifies as  'extreme cinema'.

The Falls was Greenaway's first feature length film, following on from a series of shorts that, depending on your perspective, were either maddening or brilliant. The Falls has little in the way of plot, no lead characters, and is a mock documentary with a running time of over three hours. The Falls is possibly Greenaway's most bizarre work. It's certainly his greatest.

In the rush to dismiss Greenaway's films as being 'too weird', one thing that's often overlooked is his sense of humour. The Falls is an incredibly funny film. The basic idea is that sometime in the future there's a Violent Unknown Event (somehow connected to birds) which has killed many and left a lot of the survivors changed in some way.  Some of them have learned bizarre new languages, some are even starting to change into birds. The absurdity of the material is undercut by the fact that it's played completely straight  What could have been a rather dry, dull film (It's designed as an excerpt from a directory of VUE sufferers) instead plays as a whimsical, odd little film. The apocalypse as seen through the eyes of Christopher Guest.

Some of the biographies (All of people with surnames beginning FALL, to reflect the fall of the human race as we knew it) are just a few paragraphs of narration, others involve interviews with the sufferers. It would be doing the film an injustice to even try and provide summaries of a few of the biographies, the depth of wit and invention in the writing is incredible. Attention should also be paid to Michael Nyman's incredible score. This is not a film for everyone, and probably not the best place to start watching Greenaway, but for fans, and for those who have an open mind for the odder corners of cinema, it's a real treat.

Rawlinson
 
 

 
SIr Henry at Rawlinson End (Roberts, 1980)
 
"English as tuppence, changeless as canal water, nestling in green nowhere, armoured and effete, bold flag-bearer. Lotus-fed Miss Havershambling, hermit crab-type fist eremite. Feudal still, reactionary, Rawlinson End."

Now read on dot dot dot dot dot

Eccentric, racist, sexist, drunken aristocrat Sir Henry Rawlinson spends his days drinking and lamenting the decline of the British Empire and the campaigns he fought on foreign soil, usually shot through with racist attacks on all other cultures. He also has problems. The German prisoners of war he keeps in a private camp at the bottom of his garden are trying to escape. The ghost of his brother Humbert, who died while committing adultery during hunting season, roams the house searching for his trousers. Ralph Rawlinson plays billiards on horseback. And a crooked clergyman and a cockney spiv decide there's money to be made at Rawlinson End. In order to keep up with his master's demands, Old Scrotum, the Wrinkled Retainer, has to scale the outside of the mansion to reach him in time and avoid a pistol-whipping. His cook, Mrs. E, has to sleep in her uniform so that she can be out of bed and cooking the second he demands his breakfast. Henry's wife, Florrie, is knitting a stair carpet and spends her time remembering when Henry was a more kindly soul, such as when he shot a gardener who broke his leg because he couldn't stand to see a dumb animal in pain.

Imagine Bertie Wooster got old, racist and drunk, moved into Gormenghast and then had his life story written by a teaming of Monty Python, The Goons and Peter Cook and then filmed by Luis Bunuel and produced by Ealing and you have some idea of the oddity of this brilliant and bewildering film. Vivian Stanshall was one of the great eccentrics, in addition to the music he created with The Bonzo Dog Band (house band for the Python precursor, Do Not Adjust Your Set), Stanshall is also responsible for Rawlinson End and the grotesque family who live there. Sir Henry started life on the John Peel show, Stanshall was a frequent guest and he'd often delight listeners with the latest instalment in the escapades of Rawlinson End. Stanshall's delight in wordplay and talent with accent and voices brought the crazed family to life. The radio series led to an album and the album led to the film. I think the film could be difficult for newcomers. It's so clever and brilliant with its language that unless you're already familiar with it, the stream-of-conscious lunacy could go over your head. I've also known some call it racist, which is just idiotic. The film, and the original radio episodes, were satires of the colonial mindset where people thought they were somehow superior based on class or race, it condemns it, it doesn't celebrate it.

Casting Trevor Howard might have been seen as an unusual move, but it's a truly surprising performance and one that I have no problem in calling a career-best. And the rest of the cast are note perfect, with Patrick Magee being an obvious stand-out. The film is also beautiful to look at, with rich sepia cinematography and glorious art-direction. If you're at all interested in British comedy, you know to become familiar with Stanshall's world. Rawlinson End influenced everyone from Chris Morris to Stephen Fry and the comedy landscape wouldn't be the same without Sir Henry.
Rawlinson.
 
 

 
Sleuth (Mankiewicz, 1972)
 
Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine face off in a cat and mouse game.  The script is fine, it's another in the series of puzzle films that Anthony Schaffer wrote in the 70s (although none were as strong as The Wicker Man) Laurence Olivier plays Andrew Wyke, a mystery writer who lives in a country mansion. Andrew becomes aware that his wife is having an affair with a hairdresser played by Michael Caine. Olivier is fine to divorce his wife, he's just worried that Caine won't be afford to pay for her lifestyle and she'll return to him. So Olivier makes him an offer. There begins an elaborate game of bluff and double-bluff that keeps the characters and the audience on their toes. Sleuth could have been a classic, but the actors just don't turn in performances worthy of the material. Still, it's nicely directed and the script really is well-written. The play was adapted into Bengali in the 1990s, starring the great Soumitra Chatterjee. If only he could have been cast here. 
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 4/8/2010 3:49:57 PM >


_____________________________

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quote:

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Post #: 25
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 12:36:47 PM   
elab49


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Dr Zhivago (Lean, 1965)
 
David Lean's third film with Robert Bolt and the only one Bolt took home the Oscar for.
 
Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak (banned in his native Russia, just as his protagonist's poetry was), the story uses the search in 1950s possibly just post-Stalin Russia by communist military man Zhivago (Alec Guinness) for the lost child of his dead brother, poet Zhivago (Sharif). Finding a likely suspect at a construction project (Tonya – Rita Tushingham), he tells her the story of the people he thinks are her parents, a love story set during the Russian Revolution(s) and their aftermath.
 
Zhivago succeeds in the quality of the acting and performances, particularly from Tom Courtenay and Guinness himself, carry us through the 3 odd hour running time. It could have been an unholy mess however – those who were nearly cast include Sophia Loren, Brando and Audrey Hepburn! Condensing an incredibly politically complex story (inevitable when dealing with this period of Russian history) to a relatively short running time was more problematic however and Lean sensibly keeps the focus more on the love story.
 
Winner of 5 Oscars, although not as critically successful as Lean apparently would have liked, it is possibly most easily remembered by Maurice Jarre's Oscar winning score including the instantly recognisable Lara's Theme.
Elab49
 
 

 
I Know Where I'm Going (Powell/Pressburger, 1945)
 
I Know Where I'm Going is a Hebridean romance with the greatest stock plot going: a girl seeks security in the form of a wealthy husband, then falls in love with a pauper. Here the girl is Wendy Hiller and the man is Roger Livesey, playing the exquisitely-named Torquil MacNeil. Heading for the Isle of Kiloran - where's she's all set to wed a middle-aged industrialist - the pair are stranded together on Mull, and the heady atmosphere begins to cast its spell. It's wonderfully scripted and directed, with a mesmerising evocation of island life, and delightful chemistry between the leads. It's also somewhat reminiscent of Powell's first great film - The Edge of the World. 
 Rick_7


< Message edited by elab49 -- 4/8/2010 12:41:13 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 12:38:02 PM   
elab49


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Shadowlands (Attenborough, 1993)
 
Shadowlands has a curious connection to an earlier entry in the list – Ken Loach's Family Life. The old Play for Todays and other single drama strands used to regularly adapt films to a shorter length. In the US, e.g., you'd find strands like Robert Montgomery presents that produced in one hour play form a good chunk of 40s film noir, often starring the same actors as in the original film.
 
Sometimes, however, it works the other way round. Loach's film started off as a single drama and so too did this story by William Nicholson. Written first for the Beeb with Joss Ackland in the lead, it became a play and then was re-adapted to this big screen version directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Anthony Hopkins opposite Debra Winger.
 
The film tells the story of the late in life love story between a post-Narnia CS Lewis, an Oxford Don, and American poet Joy Gresham. An intelligent love story of a meeting of minds, but not without passion of sorts it starts as a marriage of convenience after a long correspondence and develops into something much deeper.
 
It's easy to criticise the performances Hopkins has been phoning in for what seems like decades now, but these last British performances – here, Remains of the Day, etc, - before he went to the US, serve to remind us of his quality as an actor, in particular towards the end of the film with his portrayal of impending grief being very affecting.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 4/8/2010 12:41:25 PM >


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 12:39:44 PM   
elab49


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A Kind of Loving (Schlesinger, 1962)
"A Kind of Loving” tells the story of Vic Brown (Alan Bates), a young bachelor who works a dead end job before going home to his family home. That is, however, until he meets Ingrid (Julie Richie), a female worker at his factory who he begins to casually date. There are a couple of problems with the early stretches of "A Kind of Loving”. In fact, the first hour is quite pedestrian, and it follows quite a predictable running order (boy meets girl, boy knocks girl up, boy is forced to marry girl). It's not un-enjoyable, mainly down to Bates' charismatic central performance, the finely written script (dialogue-wise, if not narrative-wise), and (of course) the perfect tone that comes as part of the British kitchen-sink realism package. And if the first half is enjoyable, the second half is genuinely great. It manages to retain the humour yet deliver some darker, more troubling sequences (the hospital bombshell is perfectly constructed and devastating in delivery), and bring home some perfect social commentary. More than anything else, it is a film that highlights how pointless and needless marriage can be, and how bourgeois the whole thing is. What's more, it brutally thrashes incompatible couples who stay together for security (this theme isn't just delivered through the central relationship, but also within the dead end jobs which these men stay in simply so they don't have to risk looking for something better) or, even worse, convenience. (Spoiler alert!) The ending is horribly bitter sweet. My girlfriend 'awww'-ed at this couple's re-union, but their inability to accept their obvious differences and move on to a brighter future is virtually heartbreaking. Overall, then, a great watch, but not quite up there with the very, very best of the kitchen-sink movement.

Piles

Sunshine (Boyle, 2007)
 

 
Danny Boyle would win his Oscar for the film that followed this, Slumdog Millionaire, but Sunshine would have been far more deserving. The Sun is set to fail and all life on Earth is threatened. A crew is sent by spaceship to detonate a nuclear bomb in the heart of the Sun in the hopes of reigniting it. The first crew disappeared for reasons unknown, so a second ship is sent to try and save humanity. On their way to the Sun, the second ship picks up a distress beacon from the original craft. Expecting the crew to be long dead, they board in order to pick a second weapon and double the chance of success in their mission. They discover that the ship's commander murdered his crew to stop them completing their mission and that he might still be around, waiting for any follow-up crew. This suspensful film makes good use of its isolated location and talented cast to create one of the better sci-fi films of recent years and Boyle's best work of the last decade.
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 4/8/2010 2:30:47 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 2:21:18 PM   
elab49


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In Which We Serve (Coward/Lean,1942)
 
This Coward/Lean collaboration pretty much marked the start of the 'People's War'. Although there was still the odd film with the heroic upper-class officer in charge of dim oiks, the propaganda value of 'we're all in it together', at a difficult time before the war turned in our favour, was clear and a deliberate motive behind the film. Although a war film, the bulk of it is the story of the sailor' lives back home.
 
With full official backing, Coward's script tells the story of the destroyer HMS Torin from launch to quick sinking, and then flashes back to the lives back home of the survivors drifting in a life raft. The film focuses on Captain Coward, the chief petty officer and a young rating. I've seen criticisms of the film that focus on Coward's upper class view of commoners but I'm not sure they get the point – films where other classes and other ranks were given equal prominence and shown as integral parts of the overall effort were really quite new and until the Foreman Went to France, virtually unknown. So while Coward can't help his accent or change the way he plays the captain, the film has to be taken based on what it is clearly trying to do – the recognition of former colleagues at the commencement speech, the meeting between 'shipmates' on the train when Coward bumps into Mills.
 
Acting honours at home rest with Joyce Carey as CPO Bernard Mile's wife, with Miles himself among the best on ship, given one of the more emotional moments in the film when he receives second-hand news from John Mills's letter from home.
 
With talent released by the War Office and official help, the opening scenes showing the construction of the ship were actually filmed by the recently deceased director Ronald Neame, with voiceover from Leslie Howard.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 4/8/2010 2:30:22 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 29
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 4/8/2010 2:22:38 PM   
elab49


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Dog Soldiers (Marshall, 2002)

Before he made the brillient Descent and the not so good Doomsday...Neil Marshall delivered this "Evil Dead" style horror but instead of the undead, with a pack of werewolves...

A band of British soldiers are sent to the Scottish Highlands on a special training course when things take a turn for the worse.  They find a distressed Captain who appears to be the only survivour of a SpecialOps that have all been killed.  The captain refuses to talk about what happened and upon arrival of a farmhouse deep in the woods thanks to help from a local girl called Megan, they soon discover themselves the secrets that the Captain is holding as soon they are surrounded by a pack of werewolves after their blood.  Soon they are fighting for their lives and the night becomes the longest they will ever face, as there can only be one left standing...them or the animals...

Enough blood to keep the hounds happy, and while it contains all the cliches of a typical Werewolf film, its done in a fresh way, it seems original.  The FX of the wolves may be the downside of it all, mostly kept in the shadows, but to be fair I would rather that than the crappy CGI I had to witness in the American Werewolf in Paris fiasco..

As the Werewolf genre is a rare breed in the horror circles for being a good film, then hats off to Neil Marshall who delivers the second finest wolf movie since a certain "London" flick. A wicked fun ride movie that pays classic homage's to many films and as a cracking Matrix gag.  Its a riot from start to finish, and its not hard to be swept away with the freshness and fun that comes from the film.  It has its critics, but for a film that delivers some scares and does not take itself too seriously, then it wins hands down....
HughesRoss


< Message edited by elab49 -- 4/8/2010 2:30:17 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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