HOLLYWOOD UK by Alexander Walker
Kirkus Star


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Walker, the former movie critic for the London Evening Standard, tackles the 1960's boom in the British Film industry from all sides (""it is an attempt to illustrate the diversity of talents and motives, economic changes, historical accidents and occasional artistic achievements"") and comes up with more -- a fascinating social history of the ""it's-all-happening"" era in swinging England measured by its cinematic trends and icons. This chronology of breakthroughs and bench marks begins with the seminal ""Free Cinema"" of Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson and graduates to the challenge of ""social realism"" to polite middle class values and the censor (Room at the Top, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) with the emergence of new working-class stars like Stamp, Finney, and Courtenay. The period of social concern in film gave way, according to Walker, to a ""new wave"" of escapism in the prosperous mid-1960's, beginning with Live Now -- Pay Later, including the James Bond thrillers (which boosted the country's ""confidence in imperial potency""), Beatlemania, the London of Darling, Morgan, The Knack, and peaked with the sheer fantasy of Blow-Up and Performance. Around 1970 the Americans -- who had been financing the British independents all along -- pulled out. As producer Walter Shenson (The Mouse that Roared and A Hard Day's Night) explains, ""For an American, it is impossible to make a film reflecting the British scene -- there just is no scene today."" For those who remember how it was after Suez and Profumo and who care about the ethos in which great film making happens, it's all here.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Stein & Day