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Old 16-07-2007, 08:23   #1
John Hodson
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The Summer of British Film 2007; Nationwide Screenings, Documentaries, A Feast on TV!

Lots of trails on the Beeb right now for their 'Summer of British Film'. From here:

The Summer Of British Film on BBC Two is a season dedicated to home grown cinema, encompassing all genres from thriller and comedy to the kitchen sink drama.

This unique television event celebrates the rich heritage of British film and has at its centrepiece British Film Forever a seven-part primetime series for BBC Two.

Jessica Hynes (Shaun Of The Dead) guides us through the series examining British film by genre, with highlights from over 200 exclusive interviews from leading actors and directors including Sir Michael Caine, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor, Gurinder Chadha and Richard Curtis.

The series is being made with the support of the British Film Institute and the UK Film Council.

As well as being an enjoyable romp through the greatest films and stars, the series looks at what makes British films unique and what they reveal about British culture.

To complement British Film Forever, BBC Two is dedicating itself to the nation's finest by screening around 70 British films.

From the premiere of A Cock And Bull Story, through to favourites like Billy Elliot, Gregory's Girl and From Russia With Love, to classics and rediscoveries, from The 39 Steps, This Sporting Life, Whistle Down The Wind and Witchfinder General.

To celebrate the season, the UK Film Council, in partnership with the BBC, is backing the release of seven of Britain's greatest films which will play cinemas across the UK on Tuesday's from 31 July to 11 September.

Playing 136 screens across the UK Film Council's Lottery funded Digital Screen Network, the season kicks off with the 007 classic Goldfinger on 31 July, followed by David Lean's Brief Encounter (7 August), John Schlesinger's Billy Liar (14 August), Laurence Olivier's Henry V (21 August), Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man (28 August), Michael Anderson's The Dam Busters (4 September) and Bruce Robinson's Withnail And I (11 September).

Bringing a massive increase in film choice for cinema-goers, the Digital Screen Network is a world first initiative created and funded by the UK Film Council.

Arena celebrates the season with a special programme examining the largely forgotten, edgy side of British cinema in the Forties and Fifties.

Dark melodramas, crime films and horror shockers of these years, almost all of which were derided by contemporary critics, reveal a flamboyant, sometimes spectacular, poetic, perverse, and surprisingly sexy cinema.

This is also a cinema of great feeling and emotional complexity, dealing with the difficulties and occasional traumas of women and men as they come to terms with the post-war world.

And it is a cinema that is centrally and compellingly about Britain and the British, about our ideas of whom we were and who we are.

Among the key films featured are the mystical wartime story A Canterbury Tale (1944), the noir classic They Made Me A Fugitive (1947), the bizarre melodrama Madonna Of The Seven Moons (1944), the taut kidnap drama Obsession (1948) and the gritty, edgy Hell Drivers (1957).
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Old 16-07-2007, 08:43   #2
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I guess its refreshing to see a serious attempt at programming fresh material (some of the titles in the post war programme look interesting) and the commissioning of original documentary content is always welcome, especially when it is to be shown primetime.

But if I were to put on my cynic's hat, I would have a good moan about the fact that innovative film programming used to be part of a normal weekly tv schedule not that long ago, now it feels more like a one-off special event.

You would think that with so many people educating themselves about classic cinema through dvds that there would be a large, devoted market for this kind of stuff.
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Old 16-07-2007, 10:18   #3
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Do we know when British Film Forever is going to start broadcasting? IMDB have it as the 28th July, which would make sense, as it's a Saturday night.
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Old 16-07-2007, 10:26   #4
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The Beeb say it hasn't been firmly scheduled, though it's pencilled in for the week beginning July 28. A little more on the first part:

British Film Forever is the flagship series of BBC Two's Summer Of British Film season. This new, seven-part primetime series examines British film by genre: Thriller, Romance, Social Realism, Costume Drama, Horror/Fantasy, War and Comedy. Narrated by Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson, Shaun Of The Dead), this is the biggest series on British film ever made, with over 200 exclusive interviews from the giants of the big screen.

As well as being an entertaining journey through the greatest films and stars, the series reveals untold stories from behind the scenes and examines what makes British film unique and what it reveals about British culture.

This first programme launches the series with a 100-minute opener. The British Thriller has produced some of the world's best talent: the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock; the king of cool, Michael Caine; and the world's most successful thriller franchise – James Bond.

There are exclusive interviews with Sir Michael Caine, Lord Attenborough, Bob Hoskins, Ewan McGregor, Guy Ritchie and Daniel Craig. Some of the major films featured are The Third Man, The Long Good Friday, Get Carter and Shallow Grave. Contributions also come from Mischa Barton, Kate Winslet, Richard E Grant, Danny Boyle, Charlie Higson and Simon Callow.


Michael Caine 'the king of cool'? Now, not alot of people know that...
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Old 16-07-2007, 12:20   #5
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Looking forward to seeing "Obsession" (1948) & I wonder if the cinemascope "Billy Liar" will be shown p/s again like last time?
I have to agree with Person A - When I look at '60s TV listing (I have lots of '60s Films & Filming magazines which had TV films listings) it's full of rare '40s english films & lots of world cinema (BBC 2). With the two extra channels (3&4) you would think they would show a lot more old films. Channel four show them up something rotten.

I've done some work on an "Arena" prog. to go with this seasion; 90mins. of old British film clips. Lovely.
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Old 16-07-2007, 13:49   #6
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The new documentaries are very very welcome but they will have to be very very very good indeed if they are to match BBC2's Hollywood UK, the five-parter fronted by Richard Lester sometime in the previous century.
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Old 16-07-2007, 15:22   #7
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Quote:
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When I look at '60s TV listing (I have lots of '60s Films & Filming magazines which had TV films listings) it's full of rare '40s english films & lots of world cinema (BBC 2).

You don't even have to go back that far. Up to the mid 80's or so the schedules carried a fair number of older movies. That's the reason, I think, that I always regarded classic era movies as a natural part of my viewing. I didn't watch TCM to catch an older flick; I watched an older flick because that's what the regular channels offered.
From around 1990 the number of older movies being screened began to decline dramatically, possibly as a result of viewer complaints that too many repeat showings didn't represent value for money for the licence fee .
Anyway, the result is that a whole generation has grown up without regular exposure to older films.
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Old 16-07-2007, 18:45   #8
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From around 1990 the number of older movies being screened began to decline dramatically, possibly as a result of viewer complaints that too many repeat showings didn't represent value for money for the licence fee .
Anyway, the result is that a whole generation has grown up without regular exposure to older films.
I would date the decline to the mid-nineties - when Thatcher's deregulation of broadcasting started to have an impact. The 1995 'BBC 100' was the last time there was a decent, thoughtful run of classics on UK terrestrial TV. The bigger scandal is the almost complete absence of foreign language film from the current schedules.

I look forward to these new documentaries but, as Wendell states, they will have to be very special to improve on Richard Lester's 1993 'Hollywood UK' series.
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Old 24-07-2007, 16:38   #9
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Just a reminder that 'British Film Forever' starts this coming Saturday, 9pm, BBC2.
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Old 24-07-2007, 17:16   #10
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I would date the decline to the mid-nineties - when Thatcher's deregulation of broadcasting started to have an impact. The 1995 'BBC 100' was the last time there was a decent, thoughtful run of classics on UK terrestrial TV. The bigger scandal is the almost complete absence of foreign language film from the current schedules.

I look forward to these new documentaries but, as Wendell states, they will have to be very special to improve on Richard Lester's 1993 'Hollywood UK' series.
Things have certainly got worse since then, but as I remember they weren't perfect before then. Anything "old" (i.e. black and white) tended to be shown during the afternoons or late at night - neither of which was any use to me as I was at school and this was before we had a VCR. I remember not being able to see The Third Man for a long time because of that.

As for foreign-language films, yes BBC2 did have its "Film International" seasons but they were almost all recent films, many of which are now forgotten. Foreign-language classics were rarely shown unless someone had died - e.g. the pretty sizeable Bunuel retrospective that BBC2 did in 1983, and many of those were in colour anyway. I remember La grande illusion (an all-time classic if ever there was one) getting a showing one Christmas just because Erich Von Stroheim had recently died. And every so often BBC2 would throw in an older foreign film seemingly at random - that's how I first saw Le trou and Closely Observed Trains, both in the 1980, and even The Red Barn (starring Fernandel), which turned up one afternoon.

Channel 4's arrival in 1982 did improve things for a while - who else would have shown a Pierre Etaix season, as they did in their first few months?

I suppose the answer is that nowadays, with the Internet and DVD, we have access to far more classic and/or foreign cinema than we ever did. That's fine, but it's like the argument for a dedicated channel devoted to opera, say - yes if you do it well and market it properly you should get an audience...but you won't get the viewer who didn't know he or she liked opera until she caught one quite by chance on television.

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Old 24-07-2007, 21:33   #11
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I remember La grande illusion (an all-time classic if ever there was one) getting a showing one Christmas just because Erich Von Stroheim had recently died.
I recall a fairly good Renoir season on BBC2 in the mid 90s, with most of his major films preceded by the filmed introductions the director made for French television. But those days are long gone, as are the days of the Christmas TV highlight being a BBC2 Preston Sturges season. On the other hand, I suspect that most people who are keen on such fare will have the DVDs now, making audience figures for any potential screenings much smaller.
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Old 26-07-2007, 15:34   #12
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The TV listings are up here; seven differently themed weeks, and some real crackers - the first week has, for instance Hell Drivers, Pulp, Odd Man Out, Young & Innocent, Clash by Night - I've never seen Asquith's A Cottage on Dartmoor. The following weeks you can look forward to such disparate stuff as The Damned, King Rat, Lucky Jim, The Quatermass Experiment, Flame In The Streets, I Know Where I'm Going!, That Hamilton Woman, Becket, This Sporting Life. Makes you proud to be British dunnit?

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Old 26-07-2007, 20:35   #13
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Yes indeedy! The best news about films on telly for years.

I wonder what kind of print the BBC has of Young & Innocent? The Carlton DVD is a horrid thing: I actually think it's worse than the Public Domain version that comes on those poundstore threesomes!

Cottage on Dartmoor is well worth seeing, even if the sound discs have gone awol. I suspect the scenes of jealousy in a hairdressing salon were inspired by Sunrise, which was then a recent event.

On the topic of when telly went to hell in a handcart. I'd agree that the mid nineties were a good period for European cinema. Channel Four had an impressive Pasolini season and real rarities such as Renoir's Madame Bovary would be worth setting the video for in the wee small hours. Not to mention those Tod Slaughters, which delighted quite a few. The Cinema Europe Series was also shown in the 1995 Year of Cinema, offering hours of clips from silents in mainly wonderful prints.

By the late nineties things seemed to be heading downhill with endless chefs and make-over drivel. Then the baleful BB arrived!
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Old 26-07-2007, 21:33   #14
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Cottage on Dartmoor is well worth seeing, even if the sound discs have gone awol. I suspect the scenes of jealousy in a hairdressing salon were inspired by Sunrise, which was then a recent event.
It is indeed a shame that the sound disks have disappeared, as I've never seen, or rather heard, that version of the film.

It's an interesting comparison to make between Cottage on Dartmoor and Hitchcock's Blackmail, which were both produced in the same year. I find it really interesting to watch these films.
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Old 28-07-2007, 14:28   #15
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There's a full listing of the films now

http://www.bbc.co.uk/britishfilm/sum...on/index.shtml

However obviously someone at the BBC doesn't know the difference between "horror" and "science fiction"...

But good, they are showing The Gorgon and The Damned, good because with DDHE going into admin I have doubts we will be seeing their promised Hammer titles...

Weirdly, the schedule lists The Gorgon as starting at 11:20pm and finishing at 12:25...but it has an 83 minute runtime...
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Old 28-07-2007, 22:34   #16
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EEEEK!

The documentaries accompanying the series promise to be utter tripe on the strength of the one screened tonight on British Thrillers. One of those sandpaper female-twonk voices deluges us with platitudes as we lurch through film history towards the bits seen as its proper destination: James Bond and Mockney Gangster flicks!

All the Academy ratio movies were horridly matted but I noted that the aspect ratios were obligingly varied for more recent pictures. The quality of the prints used for the early movies was often disgraceful, probably reaching its nadir for The Italian Job.

Despite a 105' running time, this schlocky mock-doc. reserved social criticism entirely for the past.

Dreadful stuff. I don't think I'll bother with the other docs. threatened in this series. I'll try not to let it affect my enjoyment of the films.

Gumshoe at twelve-fifteen. Yes please.
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Old 29-07-2007, 05:48   #17
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Damn, this season has crept up on me so I missed the opener last night.

I'm just about to go and type some arcane codes into a black monolith for the rest. Will be interested to see how this season generally fares for viewing figures. Does the fact that people are likely to own some of these films on dvd make it more popular or less, I wonder?

I've heard through a friend that some programmes on BBC4 have scored an official zero viewers I suppose its at least one reason to feel better about the licence fee system.
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Old 29-07-2007, 08:44   #18
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Well, thanks to BBC2 running about 5 minutes late last night, I've missed the end of both the documentary and Gumshoe. Thanks BBC
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Old 29-07-2007, 09:33   #19
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Panic. Fast forward. Phew...

We've just got one of those V+ box thingies, and the first thing I did was alter the default setting to extend the recordings by an extra five minutes. Gumshoe open-matte, but I can live with it.

Summer of British Film screenings, at The Cornerhouse, and at Bradford; use this thread to post screenings local to you...
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Old 29-07-2007, 10:07   #20
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Panic. Fast forward. Phew...

We've just got one of those V+ box thingies, and the first thing I did was alter the default setting to extend the recordings by an extra five minutes.
I had my Sky+ box set to over run by 2 minutes, but still missed the endings

Tuesday 31st July GOLDFINGER
Tuesday 7th Aug BRIEF ENCOUNTER
Tuesday 14th Aug BILLY LIAR
Tuesday 21st Aug HENRY V
Tuesday 28th Aug THE WICKER MAN
Tuesday 4th Sept THE DAM BUSTERS
Tuesday 11th Sept WITHNAIL & I

These are all being shown at your local Cineworld cinema, on the dates above.

I'm going to see Goldfinger in Bolton on Tuesday and it's only £2.50

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