Tag Archives: 50s

Johnny Guitar? You probably think this film is about you.

This is the text of an introduction I gave at a re-release screening of Johnny Guitar at the British Film Institute on May 6th 2016 I saw Johnny Guitar for first time here at the BFI to whom I”ll always … Continue reading

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How The West Was Fun: When Britain loved cowboys

The Unforgiven (1961) – The Searchers in reverse This is about the back ground to the April 6th documentary I made for Radio 4 about the Western in British culture. You can listen again here: Archive on Four documentary Riding … Continue reading

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Poor Cows and Angry Young Men: 50 years of Kitchen Sink Drama

The director Ken Loach and the theatre critic Michael Billington remember the dawn of the 60s well. “The 50s weren’t bleak and depressing,” spluttered Loach, listening to art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston explain the grim postwar era that spawned the new … Continue reading

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Mocha in the Family Latte: Race on American screens

“He should not be here, ” said the fish in the pot. ” he should not be here when your mother is not.” – The Cat In the Hat Dr Seuss (1957) It is a conundrum worthy of the massive … Continue reading

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Martin Landau and the Art of Darkness

I was lucky enough to interview Martin Landau when he was in London for the Film Festival premiere of Frankenweenie. Like a lot of 70s kids I first discovered him as Space:1999′s haunted looking Commander Koenig. When discussing his career … Continue reading

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Anglos, Diphthongs & Perfect Snogging: Saving the German A-level

This piece was written for The Guardian in August 2012, after A-level results showed the number of UK students taking German had declined to below 5,000 for the first time. There were also significant drops in French and other modern … Continue reading

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Aliens, abortion and baby machines: HG Wells & John Wyndham

Woman’s Hour ran a fascinating interview today with novelist Kishwar Desai, about India’s burgeoning  surrogate baby industry. Her exploration of this massive business (an estimated 20,000 babies produced  each year) seems to differ from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale only … Continue reading

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Can we laugh about this? Race on film

I spent an hour with the Film Club charity in Battersea Park School in South London today,(I’m a trustee) discussing the treatment of race and racism on film. It was Anti-Racism Day, apparently. I chose clips from a sample of … Continue reading

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New York Fever: Strutting with Travolta

This is a talk I gave at the British Film Institute last night at the launch of a new book series on World Film Locations in major cities. The books pick 1 key scene and its locations from each film … Continue reading

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1951 then and now: Britain Mended, Britain on the Make

If you want to know what Britain was like before The Festival of Britain you should watch the masterful 1950 film noir, Night And The City. It features a chase around the industrial chimneys and postwar rubble of what was … Continue reading

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