Ealing, West London, is the home of the iconic Ealing Studios, and during the stewardship of Will Barker, Basil Dean, and Michael Balcon, produced some of the most iconic and well-loved films to come out of British cinema, especially in the 1940s and 1950s.
In more recent years the studios have become a place where both films and television have been created, and you can still see the ‘White House’ adminstration building as you walk from High Street towards St Mary’s Road.
For the last ten years Ealing town centre has not had a permanent cinema; there is the local Film Club, which meets in the Town Hall, and there has been a travelling van showing up-to-date titles, first on Haven Green, and later within the perimeter of the demolished Empire/ABC.
There have been plans afoot for some time to develop a lifestyle quarter within Ealing, emcompassing retail, residential, and cultural spaces (including that long-awaited replacement cinema). This is where the Famous Names from Ealing Studios comes in.
The brainchild of Tony Moore, this project now has a dedicated public Facebook group and has attracted interest from Ealing Council, Ealing Regeneration, Ealing Highways, Rupa Huq M.P., Ealing Today, the Ealing History group, Ealing Department of Works, Talking Pictures TV, with other potential supporters already approached.
Ealing, with its importance not just to the history of cinema, but also to television (Monty Python filmed many sketches within the borough, Downton Abbey’s ‘downstairs’ scenes were all filmed at the Studios), and to music (‘The Ealing Club’ was instrumental to the careers of The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Cream), should be a popular stop on the tourist trail, and a Walk of Fame would attract interest, investment, and a financial boost for the area between Ealing Broadway, Bond Street, and Mattock Lane.
Many performers have been linked with Ealing or been in residence here: Sid James, Tony Hancock, George Formby, Gracie Fields, Dick Emery, Earl Cameron, Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, Julian Clary, Arthur Haynes, Googie Withers, Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sam Kydd, director Steve McQueen, Matt Monro, Liz Sladen, John Gregson, Stewart Granger, Maurice Chevalier, Gloria Swanson, Tommy Trinder, Will Hay, Ivor Novello, Harry Fowler, Jack Hawkins, Joan Greenwood, Gordon Jackson, and Mervyn Johns, to mention just a few.
What better way to remember them, and put Ealing firmly on the destination map?
The Famous Names from Ealing project needs publicity, awareness, and the backing of the local community and business owners to make this work. Please consider joining the project – for more information follow the link above to the Facebook group, or contact Tony Moore directly by email.
SeatPlan has been online since 2011, and its original aim was to advise theatre patrons which seats are good or bad for particular theatres or productions.
As a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) it also operates as an agency to purchase tickets for London-based productions.
Let’s take a tour of the site:
Here is the homepage. You will note that although SeatPlan started as London-based, it has now branched out to include shows and venues in a number of other cities, and these can be reached by clicking on the city name below the search box.
There is no need to create an account to browse the features on the site. However, if you wish to become a contributor, you can log in via two methods – either by email and password, or by linking your SeatPlan account with Facebook. I found the latter the easiest as I can then operate my SeatPlan account without having to remember seperate login credentials.
Searching for a venue
I searched for the National Theatre, which has three auditoriums, but only two are represented on here (presumably because the Dorfman has flexible staging and seating which can change for each production).
Assessing the seat quality
Once you click on the venue in which you are interested, the first thing you see is a seating plan, with colour-coded seats depending on how they have been reviewed on a five-point scale from poor to good. This is of course a subjective analysis, but a useful one. For the National Theatre’s Olivier, the majority of seats are marked as good, and some have photos to reflect this.
Reviews and photos
Reviews are provided by patrons who have a SeatPlan account, and require the venue, production, date (but not time, which would be useful), area of the theatre (stalls, dress circle, balcony etc), row and number, comment about the seat (legroom, view) and an optional review of the show if you wish.
I utilised this function to add a negative review of the seat I was in to see ‘Chess’ at the ENO Coliseum, but to ensure a positive review of the show itself, so I like the ability to add this; however, capsule reviews displayed on the production page only show the review of the seat itself.
Simply click on ‘add review’ to start this process. If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to do so. All reviews go into a moderation buffer before they are published.
Each photo added to your review – not taken during the show, or without the safety curtain being down – will add 40p to your account. I believe the reviews alone do not add any credit other to assist other patrons.
Searching for a production
You can search for a particular production in the main search box – the results will tell you at which theatre the production is showing, plus how many performances are currently scheduled for booking.
I searched for ‘Tina: The Musical’, which is currently running at the Aldwych Theatre.
You will note that the easiest thing to do from this page is to book for the production. To access reviews of the seats, click on either the name of the theatre, or the details of seat photos and reviews (the links all go to the same place).
The booking process
Let’s explore the ticket booking process. Click on the ‘book now’ button and this takes you into a list of performances, and the familiar promise of tickets available at the lowest price for that performance. From here it is easy to progress into a seat plan to choose the tickets you want to book – but there is no link between this page and the one which details reviews of each seat.
I would recommend having two windows open to best utilise the dual functionality of this site, or, start with the seat plan reviews and utilise the buttons on the side to book your show.
Other useful features
For each venue, there are details of the various sections with general comments (e.g. “the first row could cause neck-ache due to a high stage”), a map and directions to the venue, and some details on accessible seating for patrons with disabilities.
You can also ‘track’ a venue by ticking a box to get email updates about that theatre. You can do the same for a specific show to access the best price deals.
Clicking on the name of a city takes you to a page which lists productions for the next 12 months, and a list of venues.
SeatPlan is a good site with a lot of useful information, but it is worth taking the time to figure out the navigation and shortcuts. There are similar sites out there (for example, TheatreMonkey) but they rely more on the subjective opinion of one person, rather than a collection of viewpoints. Both are equally valid.
SeatPlan is located at https://seatplan.com/.
Knights of the Rose will appear during this year’s West End Live, 16-17 June 2018.
It will star Andy Moss as Gawain.
Romance of the Rose Productions presents:
KNIGHTS OF THE ROSE
A New West End Classic Rock Musical created by Jennifer Marsden
A TALE OF BETRAYAL, LOVE, BLOODSHED AND REDEMPTION
29th June – 26th August, 2018
Press Night: Thursday 5th July
On sale – 23rd March
The Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB
Romance of the Rose Productions are delighted to announce the world premiere of a new West End musical created by Jennifer Marsden, Knights of the Rose, an epic medieval tale featuring a timeless playlist of classic rock songs. Headlined by five unforgettable Bon Jovi masterpieces and accompanied by much loved songs from Bonnie Tyler, Meatloaf, No Doubt and more, Knights of the Rose finds court at The Arts Theatre from Friday 29th June – Sunday 26th August.
In this epic tale of betrayal, love, bloodshed and redemption, the noble Knights of the Rose must defend their House and their honour. Even as the chivalrous knights return from a glorious victory, a greater threat against the kingdom stirs. As they face the greatest battle of the age and betrayal threatens to tear them apart, can true love and honour triumph?
With rich interwoven literature from Marlowe, Shakespeare and Chaucer mixed with legendary classic rock music; Knights of the Rose is a glorious fusion of popular culture, evocative of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Bat out of Hell’. This high-voltage musical of Shakespearean proportions charges its way into the heart of London on 29th June, for 9 weeks only.
SET LIST INCLUDES:
Blaze Of Glory – Bon Jovi // Blood On Blood – Bon Jovi // Always – Bon Jovi // Bed Of Roses – Bon Jovi // This Is Love, This Is Life – Bon Jovi // Changes – Black Sabbath // Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler // Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler // Hero – Enrique Iglesias // King Arthur: Third Act – Henry Purcell // The Parting Glass – Irish Folk Song // Is Nothing Sacred – Meatloaf // Marriage Of Figaro: Part 1V – Mozart // Don’t Speak – No Doubt // Addicted To Love – Robert Palmer // Hard Times Of Old England – Steeleye Span // Wherever You Will Go – The Calling // He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother – The Hollies // Pilgrim – Uriah Heep
Monday – 7.30pm
Tuesday – Off
Wednesday – 7.30pm
Thursday – 3pm/7.30pm
Friday – 7.30pm
Saturday – 3pm/ 7.30pm
Sunday – 4pm
On sale – 23rd March
Wednesday, Thursday Matinee, Thursday Evening, Sunday and Monday
£55 // £45// £33.50 // £22.50 // £15
Friday, Saturday Matinee, Saturday Evening
£65 // £49.50 // £38.50 // £25 // £20
Box Office: 020 7836 8463 // https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/
Jennifer Marsden – Creator // Racky Plews – Director and Choreographer // Diego Pitarch – Designer
Jennifer Marsden – Creator
Creator, Jennifer Marsden, lives in West Sussex with her husband, Tim, and has three grown up children. She is a qualified Barrister and has always had a keen interest in theatre. Jenny began writing over eight years ago and is a member of Mercury Musical Developments, Musical Theatre Network, and the Inner Temple Inn of Court.
Racky Plews – Director and Choreographer
Racky Plews is trained at Sylvia Young and Arts Educational
Directing and Choreography credits include, Thoroughly Modern Mille (UK Tour), Summer Holiday (UK Tour), American Idiot (West End and UK Tour, winner of Best New Musical in the West End Broadway World Awards, Best Director and Best Choreographer nomination What’s On Stage Awards), Footloose (West End and UK Tour), Vanities (Trafalgar Studios, West End), Guys and Dolls, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Into The Woods (The Gatehouse). Racky’s choreography credits include, Flight (Symphony of the Seas), Columbus (Harmony of the Seas), Respect La Diva (Garrick Theatre, West End), Jekyll and Hyde (UK Tour), Josephine Baker (The Beckett Theatre, New York), Cougar (The Belgrade, Coventry), Lost Boy (Liverpool Playhouse), West End Bares (Jerry Mitchell/MAD Trust), Denise Pearson – The Jackson’s World Tour (UK Arena Tour), Forever Plaid (UK & International Tour), Bare – The Rock Musical (Best Choreography nomination Broadway World), Bernarda Alba, and Once Upon A Mattress (Best Choreography nomination Off West End Awards, The Union Theatre), The 48hour Musicals – The Boy Friend (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Crazy For You, and Me & My Girl (London Palladium).
Diego Pitarch – Designer
Born in Spain, London based Diego Pitarch studied architecture and Interior Design in Valencia, Barcelona and at the E.S.A.G in Paris, where he obtained an award for Scenography. In 2001 he completed his MA in Theatre Design at the Slade School of Art in London. His design for Katya Kabanova placed him amongst the finalists for the Linbury Prize. Since then Diego has created more than 100 designs for plays, musicals, ballets and operas for renowned theatres and producers worldwide. Successes include Sunset Boulevard in London’s West End, Spend, Spend, Spend directed by Craig Revel-Horwood, which won a TMA award for Best Musical in 2009, the 2011 European tour of The Who’s Tommy, the 2013 UK and Ireland tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Paul Michael Glaser as well as the 2017 touring production of The Addams Family and Crazy for You. In 2015 The production of 1984 designed for the Altes Schauspielhaus in Stuttgart was nominated for the prestigious Faust award.
Following on from part one, which dealt with the output of Deep Purple pre-split, this post will look at their reunion albums up to and including Purpendicular. This means the most recent four albums are missing, but I no longer actively follow that line-up of the band and it would be wrong of me to comment on something in which I had no interest!
Mark Five (Mark Two, rebooted)
This definitive line-up returned in 1984 with one of the best rock records ever made, which still stands up today. Then a mis-step towards commerciality and another breakup caused the band’s musical style to waver, before a final catastrophic collapse in 1993.
‘Perfect Strangers’, released October 1984
High point: there are so many, with hardly a dud throughout the album. But if pushed, the beautiful ‘Wasted Sunsets’.
Low point: A Gypsy’s Kiss is probably the one I listen to least of this set.
Marks out of five: five.
‘The House of Blue Light’, released January 1987
High point: it’s a strange album which is far too geared to the idea of the ‘radio play’ single. But I love the organ bits on Bad Attitude.
Low point: Black and White is pretty unmemorable.
Marks out of five: two.
Ian Gillan’s departure from the band brought former Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner back to be reunited with former colleagues Blackmore and Glover, with a new slick sound for the band. Sadly after one excellent album and tour this association came to an end.
‘Slaves and Masters’, released October 1990
High point: Fortuneteller is worth a couple of minutes of anyone’s time.
Low point: I like Too Much is Not Enough, but it isn’t a Deep Purple song.
Marks out of five: five
Mark Seven (another reboot for Mark Two)
This reunion was a mistake and the resulting album does not stand up well today. Perhaps it is a conflict of styles. But its dated rock sounds and pretty dreadful lyrics have killed it.
‘The Battle Rages On’, released July 1993
High point: I love Solitaire. But Ramshackle Man is almost back to Purple at their finest.
Low point: One Man’s Meat and Lick it Up suffer from really childish lyrics.
Marks out of five: three
After the 1993 tour conflict reared its head in the band and for whatever reason,.Ritchie Blackmore departed to reform Rainbow. The new album was an odd mix of material which could have been on any earlier album plus new songs which were a stylistic departure.
The only album I will comment on is their first.
‘Purpendicular’, released February 1996
High point: A Touch Away and Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming are good songs
Low point: Ted the Mechanic. The lyrics are awful.
Marks out of five: one.
This new translation of the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill has been polarising audiences at the National Theatre, but it is a vibrant and lively production, entertaining and bawdy, and – some diction issues aside – a well-sung musical black comedy. I’m pleased to report that Weill’s music has definitely stood the test of time.
Rory Kinnear (showing versatility with fairly successful vocal work) is Captain Macheath aka Mack the Knife, who carries round a large blade and dispatches people who cause him trouble. He marries Polly Peachum (Rosalie Craig, last seen in the dreadful wonder.land, much better here) for her brains and to get one over on her gangster dad and her horny mum. But is his chequered past about to catch up with him?
This production, by Rufus Norris, uses a translation by Simon Stephens which focuses on a run of profanity and the ‘filthy language’ promised in the National’s publicity, alongside the ‘immoral behaviour’ which includes Mackie and Polly making their first appearance in coitus which being lowered down from the flies on a crescent moon.
Brechtian theatre shows all the nuts and bolts of the stage, and this production doesn’t disappoint, with lights, ropes, and a busy set of steps, paper doors, and liberal use of the National’s drum revolve, all contributing to the overall effect.
There are some aspects of this musical that are muddled: Haydn Gwynne’s Mrs Peachum using a fire extinguisher to mimic vomiting after a heavy night, all of Sharon Small’s songs as heavily Scots-accented Jenny, some of the lyric changes, the gay angle, and Peachum’s wig, but they are generally overshadowed by successful innovations, including Paule Constable’s lighting design.
Debbie Kurup does well as a feisty and aggressive Lucy Brown, and George Ikediashi is a camp balladeer, but Peter de Jersey disappoints in the duet with Kinnear (‘A Soldier’s Return’) and I struggled with one of Mackie’s gang being severely disabled and almost played for laughs.
Edit: I would like to expand on my final sentence following a comment I have received on Twitter, specifically honing in on the fact I had a problem following the speech of the member of the cast with cerebral palsy (his name is Jamie Beddard, and he plays the member of Mackie’s gang called ‘The Shadow’).
The Telegraph’s review claims that this casting was inspired and makes the audience implicit in Macheath’s eventual frustration and mockery, but for me this didn’t work. I was frustrated enough with not being able to follow the lyrics at times without having to decipher a speech impairment as well; nonetheless, Beddard did well and was particularly amusing in the black scene where Polly, the new bride, seems in danger of a nasty assault from the gang.
I am afraid, though, that I felt this particular piece of casting was a stunt which did not work in the context of the whole musical, and it weakened the fabric of a show which was already not entirely successful, by overbalancing scenes and musical numbers with an additional burden on an audience who were already dealing with an assault on the senses from the revised lyrics and situations, and could do nothing but react with uncomfortable laughter. I hope this makes my comment clearer.
THEATREBOARD: the new home of independent theatre discussion.
The UK now has a new independent online forum to discuss theatre.
Following the recent decision by its American parent company to discontinue support for the discussion forums originally established by WhatsOnStage.com, a group of dedicated fans have taken on the challenge to create a brand new home for lively and informed discussion about the UK theatre scene and beyond.
Once the closure of the old forum was announced at the start of January, many users rapidly got involved suggesting ways forward. Different approaches were considered before the community as a whole put its support behind a plan to create a new home at http://www.theatreboard.co.uk.
A former moderator of the WhatsOnStage.com forum commented: ‘It was fantastic seeing our online community come together to protect something they valued so much. It was a very democratic process and we are proud to have launched the new site within a matter of weeks.’
A small team of volunteer staff came together to cover the costs and work on the design and functionality of the new site which already boasts over 500 members and is averaging 17,000 hits a day.
A spokesperson said: ‘We are thrilled to have secured this new online home which we hope will continue to grow and flourish in the years to come. Everyone is welcome – whatever type of theatre they enjoy or how often they manage to see a show.’
TheatreBoard features sections discussing Musicals; Plays; Performers and following member demand, a new area dedicated to Opera and Dance. Conversations already cover dozens of productions including West End, fringe and touring; alongside topics as diverse as badly behaved audiences to theatre technology and a live chat planned for the upcoming Olivier awards.
All year round the UK delivers an exceptional wealth of live theatre in venues ranging in size from over two thousand seats down to the most intimate studio spaces. TheatreBoard aims to support informed, varied and vigorous debate among those who love theatre.
Another popular archive TV label is Acorn, who publish titles both in the UK and the USA.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,200 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Last weekend was a double theatre visit, first to the new Croatian-set play ‘3 Winters’, which I admit I left at the interval, so perhaps cannot give a balanced review. Suffice to say I thought the sets were excellent, moving between the three eras (1945, 1990, 2011) in the same house, although I would personally have dated the video projections. The characterizations were spread too thinly for us to really care about them, although the actors did their best. Just not my thing.
John Cleese has had a busy couple of years with his Alimony Tour, the Python reunion at the O2, and now the tour in support of his autobiography (up to 1969) called ‘So Anyway’. The small and intimate Cadogan Hall was the perfect venue for his conversation with David Walliams, in which he came across as funny, personable, and surprisingly not as arrogant as he has sometimes come across in interviews. OK, we have heard some of the anecdotes before (Graham Chapman going to a debate at the Oxford Union dressed as a carrot), but they remain amusing enough. I now look forward to reading the book, which we got as part of the ticket price. One side note on the Cadogan Hall show, in Cleese’s book he notes his good friend the actor Nicky Henson has a funny laugh which he likes to provoke, and as Mr Henson was in the row in front of us I can confirm that yes, he does indeed have a distinct barking cackle which appeared throughout the show.
Lady bloggers unite!
I have signed up to blog each day throughout November in association with BlogHer and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo for short). If you’re a US-based blogger, there’s a chance to get prizes – but the rest of us are just doing it for the love of blogging!
Follow the link above to see more.
So it is goodbye to thebox.bz, the private file sharing site which specialised in TV shows, old and new. Unlike The Pirate Bay before them, who were legislated to (almost) oblivion by ISPs being forced to block them, thebox is calling it quits themselves.
Copyright legislation protects rights-holders from unauthorised copying and sharing of their work, whether for profit or not, for up to 70 years after the death of the last of those rights-holders (so for a film, it can be screenwriter, director, composer). This means that in the UK at least not many titles are in what might be termed ‘public domain’. In the USA, some lapsed copyrights have left titles in legal limbo, which probably explains the dime-bin DVD collections of film and TV titles which are widely available there (yes, Mill Creek, I am looking at you!).
But what of bootleg DVDs and torrent files? What of the hundreds of full films and TV series which can be found at YouTube, and which are unlikely to ever be made available for commercial purchase (especially if they are from the BBC)?
Technology constantly challenges copyright and bites at the heels of the requirements of the letter of the law. It is very easy to rip a DVD or dub from VHS and put the file on the internet. I recall about ten years ago when music files and short videos might have been hidden in a directory tree which you could stumble across, or someone might share the link if you’re lucky. That’s where my Bonzo Dog Band journey began, and led to many CD/DVD legitimate purchases.
Torrents though have left me a little bit torn. I think there is a distinction between the material you would never see otherwise (orphan episodes of largely wiped TV shows, films with no obvious owner, series seen to have little value by their creators), and material which has been commercially released and/or broadcast and is offered by means of file transfer or DVD-Rs to other territories.
I have bootleg titles in my collection, both films and TV. Years ago I had a library of VHS heavy metal concerts, all bootleg recordings from German TV or similar. If I really want a title, I’ll pay a small amount for it, or I’ll download it from YouTube. If it then gets released ‘for real’, I’ll buy it.
Thebox.bz didn’t just make their audience passive viewers of material, though, but because of their seeding policy (to ‘leech’ or watch, you had to ‘seed’ or share an equal amount) it made their audience bootleggers, and therefore tipped into potentially infringing activity. Whether this is different from the eBay shop which sells DVD-Rs of ‘titles in the public domain’ is a moot point, but I think that both are now here to stay – the torrent is only going to grow because it is easy, it is simple, and to a younger generation, it is second nature.
So … the grey market. Good, or bad? “Discuss.”
Every ten years, a section of film aficiandos and experts receive an invitation to submit their selections for the Sight and Sound ‘Greatest Films of All Time’, and 2012’s selections were announced yesterday, with the big news being that after fifty years, Citizen Kane has been toppled from the top spot by Vertigo.
To me, a film becomes ‘great’ if it is innovative, interesting, or informative – in short, if it has something to say, and stays in my memory. This can apply whether the film is a silent romance, a musical, a war film, a women’s weepie, or a kitchen sink drama. In my list you will find examples of all of these, and more. It is a purely personal list, however, and rather than sort it by numbers, I have chosen to break down my selections into decades.
1 The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1919). Innovative, and still feels fresh.
2 The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, 1927). Contains perhaps the greatest acting performance of all time, from Maria Falconetti.
3 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (FW Murnau, 1927). Not necessarily better than Nosferatu or Faust, but engrossing on many levels.
4 Dinner at Eight (George Cukor, 1933). A bubbly comedy of manners with Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler and the two Barrymore brothers.
5 Fury (Fritz Lang, 1936). An early Spencer Tracy film with a message about vigilantes and lynch mobs.
6 Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933). The greatest of all pre-Code musicals.
7 Gone With The Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). A great, epic, glossy soap opera of the American Civil War.
8 Intermezzo (Gustaf Molander, 1936). The Swedish original of the great romance between musicians.
9 Mr Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, 1936). A charming slice of Capra-corn whimsy.
10 Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939). Garbo laughs!
11 Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939). A career defining performance from John Wayne in Ford’s memorable Western.
12 Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935). Polished floors, inky canals, and Fred and Ginger.
13 The Women (George Cukor, 1939). The greatest ensemble cast of ladies in the history of cinema.
14 Bambi (James Algar & Samuel Armstrong, 1942). Disney’s most emotional achievement, and one of the funniest.
15 Black Narcissus (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1947). The Archers’ colourful and over-wrought production set in a house of nuns.
16 A Canterbury Tale (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1944). A quirky, unique, and unusual war film.
17 The Clock (Vincente Minnelli, 1945). Judy Garland in her first non-musical role in this charming romance.
18 It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946). Perhaps the best of all ‘what if’ films.
19 Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer, 1949). A delicious crime caper with a twist.
20 Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944). A drama of obsession.
21 Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944). Hitch’s claustrophobic and clever anti-Nazi film.
22 The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941). A remake, but an excellent one, and the first film by Huston.
23 Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945). Joan Crawford suffers in a typical ‘women’s picture’.
24 Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942). And Bette Davis does the same.
25 Odd Man Out (Carol Reed, 1947). Deeply subversive and beautifully performed British classic.
26 Pimpernel Smith (Leslie Howard, 1941). The Scarlet Pimpernel set in wartime.
27 All About Eve (Joseph L Mankiewicz, 1950). An acerbic drama of theatrical poison.
28 An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951). For the dance sequence at the end alone, and Gene Kelly’s enthusiasm.
29 Born Yesterday (George Cukor, 1950). One of the rare handful of appearances by Judy Holliday as the scatty Billie Dawn.
30 From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953). Career-defining on so many levels, and remembered largely for Deborah Kerr in the sea, but has much more to it.
31 High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952). Anti-McCarthyism at its best. I could have picked the much later film of The Crucible, for the same reasons.
32 Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950). The strange story of Norma Desmond, and her iconic close-up.
33 Twelve Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957). A stifling and wordy courtroom drama which never tires.
34 A bout de souffle (Breathless) (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960). For Jean Seberg’s smile.
35 Les demoiselles de Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967). High energy and enthusiasm in this French love letter to the American musical film.
36 Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964). Simple perfection, and a perfect marriage of live action and animation.
37 This Sporting Life (Lindsay Anderson, 1963). Angst on the rugby field and by the kitchen sink.
38 The Trap (Sidney Hayers, 1966). Notable for Rita Tushingham’s mute performance.
39 West Side Story (Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins, 1961). The greatest of all dance films, and a potent love story based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
40 Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968). A chilling horror film which does not have its tongue in its cheek.
41 Zulu (Cy Endfield, 1964). An example of the stirring ‘boy’s own’ epic, with great music and three-dimensional characters.
42 The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971). Derek Jarman’s designs and Ken Russell’s direction lift this film to greatness.
43 The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972). The blueprint for all crime epics to follow.
44 Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976). A blackly comic exploration of the influence of television on the masses.
45 Sunday, Bloody Sunday (John Schlesinger, 1971). A milestone in gay cinema, and full of unusual shots and ideas.
46 Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981). The greatest and best film about sport, which still feels relevant today.
47 Educating Rita (Lewis Gilbert, 1983). Michael Caine’s best performance and a touching portrait of adult education and self-awareness.
48 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994). A vibrant musical comedy, and perhaps the defining image of a transsexual character on screen, who gets her happy ending.
49 Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999). Bonkers, clever, unnerving.
50 Trois couleurs bleu (Three Colours Blue) (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993). All the trilogy could be included, but this is the best of the three on all levels.
Classic movies, Classic stars
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