Weekly Film Recap #18 (70s British Cinema)

70s British Cinema.jpg

At the end of the 1960’s, a lot of US studios started pulling out from producing films in the UK. Some were still investing in films in the UK, but things had started shifting back over to Hollywood thanks to the New Hollywood movement. However, with the exit of a lot of US studios, the UK lightened up their rating restrictions and this brought a lot of filmmakers to a prominent rise in the UK. The lightened restrictions added additional perks for young American directors to take their productions to the UK as well.

Generally, 70s British cinema is looked down upon due to it’s decline in viewers and mainstream attraction. Viewers in the UK were unlike the movie crazed kids of the 70s in America, in fact they were more attracted to television. But, this allowed for more experimentation in cinema. A long with the lightened censorship, the early 1970s British cinema introduced some of the most explicitly violent and controversial films of all time.

Enjoy!

STRAW DOGS     (dir. Sam Peckinpah)   1971 proved to be a pretty memorable year for cinema across the globe. But just in the UK, 3 films released that year left audiences absolutely petrified. One of those was  Straw Dogs .  Technically a US/UK production,  Straw Dogs  is a terrifying look at the degradation of a man’s morals when constantly pushed and harassed. Directed by renegade Hollywood filmmaker Sam Peckinpah,  Straw Dogs  stars Dustin Hoffman as David Sumner, a mild-mannered scientist from the states. He’s received a grant to conduct research, so his wife and he decide to travel to the small English town she grew up in for some peace and quiet while David works. While in the desolate English town, the locals start to slowly toy with the Sumners as they constantly attempt to assert their dominance over this outsider and his local wife.  Sam Peckinpah has quite the taste for violence and  Straw Dogs  is no exception. Audiences were completely horrified as they were shown such graphic violence, including a pretty lengthy and explicit rape scene.  Straw Dogs , along with a few other British films from 1971, took full advantage of the lax rating system in the UK to create some of the most gritty films in cinema history.    5/5     WATCH: YouTube (FREE)

STRAW DOGS

(dir. Sam Peckinpah)

1971 proved to be a pretty memorable year for cinema across the globe. But just in the UK, 3 films released that year left audiences absolutely petrified. One of those was Straw Dogs.

Technically a US/UK production, Straw Dogs is a terrifying look at the degradation of a man’s morals when constantly pushed and harassed. Directed by renegade Hollywood filmmaker Sam Peckinpah, Straw Dogs stars Dustin Hoffman as David Sumner, a mild-mannered scientist from the states. He’s received a grant to conduct research, so his wife and he decide to travel to the small English town she grew up in for some peace and quiet while David works. While in the desolate English town, the locals start to slowly toy with the Sumners as they constantly attempt to assert their dominance over this outsider and his local wife.

Sam Peckinpah has quite the taste for violence and Straw Dogs is no exception. Audiences were completely horrified as they were shown such graphic violence, including a pretty lengthy and explicit rape scene. Straw Dogs, along with a few other British films from 1971, took full advantage of the lax rating system in the UK to create some of the most gritty films in cinema history.

5/5

WATCH: YouTube (FREE)

GET CARTER     (dir. Mike Hodges)   Before he was The Dark Knight’s butler, Michael Caine was Jack Carter, one of the most distinguishable and revered characters in British cinema.  Caine plays Jack Carter, a London gangster who travels back to his native Newcastle to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his brother. The police are saying it was suicide by drunk driving, but Carter knows better than that. Carter is a serious man with little to no remorse for any of his actions and this cool demeanor of his makes for some of the most memorable moments in cinema along with an unforgettable climax.  Audiences, again, were polarized by this film. However, unlike the audiences for  Straw Dogs  who felt nothing but horror and disgust,  Get Carter  viewers were left with a real neutral feeling. The largely interconnected plot mixed with Carter’s blatant, remorseless violence left viewers questioning what they had seen and it wasn’t until many years later when young directors praised this film, that it was re-evaluated. Mike Hodges made his directorial debut with this film and in fact, Michael Caine really helped characterize this Jack Carter character. So much so, that he earned a production credit for it.    4/5     WATCH: Putlocker, iTunes

GET CARTER

(dir. Mike Hodges)

Before he was The Dark Knight’s butler, Michael Caine was Jack Carter, one of the most distinguishable and revered characters in British cinema.

Caine plays Jack Carter, a London gangster who travels back to his native Newcastle to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his brother. The police are saying it was suicide by drunk driving, but Carter knows better than that. Carter is a serious man with little to no remorse for any of his actions and this cool demeanor of his makes for some of the most memorable moments in cinema along with an unforgettable climax.

Audiences, again, were polarized by this film. However, unlike the audiences for Straw Dogs who felt nothing but horror and disgust, Get Carter viewers were left with a real neutral feeling. The largely interconnected plot mixed with Carter’s blatant, remorseless violence left viewers questioning what they had seen and it wasn’t until many years later when young directors praised this film, that it was re-evaluated. Mike Hodges made his directorial debut with this film and in fact, Michael Caine really helped characterize this Jack Carter character. So much so, that he earned a production credit for it.

4/5

WATCH: Putlocker, iTunes

THE DEVILS     (dir. Ken Russell)   Easily one of the most controversial films of all time,  The Devils  is Ken Russell’s nearly lost film, that to this day is pretty fuckin’ difficult to find.   The Devils  is based on real life events that took place in 1600’s France. It follows Urban Grandier, who was a Roman Catholic priest that had a fairly lax approach to sex as he took over the town of Loudon after the Governor died. The story shows how many of the sexually repressed nuns at the convent were in love with Grandier, and because of their inability to control themselves any further, were subject to ruthless exorcisms by the ignorant fathers of the Roman Catholic Church who have come to take back the town of Loudon.  The film has been dramatized for the sake of the screen, and in doing so Ken Russell has made what some people may argue is the most sacrilegious scene in cinema history. The scene, known as ‘The Rape of Christ’ has been cut out of most of the remaining editions of this film, but if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to find an edition with it, you’ll be presented with a wildly surreal look at a convent of nuns molesting a giant crucifix of Jesus. Needless to say, I don’t think the Christian or Catholic community is very supportive of this film. Although, I think it’s necessary for everyone who identifies wit ha religion to watch this film. The same way that we look back at ridiculous religious practices from the 1600’s with shock, the future will look back at us today practicing religion with the same shock. It’s an eye opening film that creates a lot of food for thought in how misunderstood religion is.    4/5     WATCH: Good Luck lol

THE DEVILS

(dir. Ken Russell)

Easily one of the most controversial films of all time, The Devils is Ken Russell’s nearly lost film, that to this day is pretty fuckin’ difficult to find.

The Devils is based on real life events that took place in 1600’s France. It follows Urban Grandier, who was a Roman Catholic priest that had a fairly lax approach to sex as he took over the town of Loudon after the Governor died. The story shows how many of the sexually repressed nuns at the convent were in love with Grandier, and because of their inability to control themselves any further, were subject to ruthless exorcisms by the ignorant fathers of the Roman Catholic Church who have come to take back the town of Loudon.

The film has been dramatized for the sake of the screen, and in doing so Ken Russell has made what some people may argue is the most sacrilegious scene in cinema history. The scene, known as ‘The Rape of Christ’ has been cut out of most of the remaining editions of this film, but if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to find an edition with it, you’ll be presented with a wildly surreal look at a convent of nuns molesting a giant crucifix of Jesus. Needless to say, I don’t think the Christian or Catholic community is very supportive of this film. Although, I think it’s necessary for everyone who identifies wit ha religion to watch this film. The same way that we look back at ridiculous religious practices from the 1600’s with shock, the future will look back at us today practicing religion with the same shock. It’s an eye opening film that creates a lot of food for thought in how misunderstood religion is.

4/5

WATCH: Good Luck lol

IMAGES     (dir. Robert Altman)   Before taking on the genre defying 1973 film  The Long Goodbye , Robert Altman took his talents to the UK for one of the most wildly surreal and psychological films in his filmography.   Images  stars Susannah York as a children’s author who spends a lot of alone time in a secluded Irish estate. While working on her latest book, she starts having visions of various men as well as a doppelgänger of herself. She also receives strange phone calls that insinuate to her that her husband is having an affair.  Now, that’s about as good as I can get at attempting to give a synopsis on the film. Altman doesn’t really spend too much time creating a coherent plot to follow, instead opting to execute a stylish and psychologically stimulating film. It’s pretty clear that Altman was influenced by Bergman’s  Persona  in the creation of this film. In fact, Altman had this idea in the mid 60s and didn’t get an opportunity to actually make it until 1971. It was a box office disappointment in both the US and the UK, but you can’t really argue that it was for any other reason than that this is an art film. It’s very difficult to understand, if there is anything to even understand, and must be appreciated on a facial level. Any attempt to dig deeper might be futile. God knows if Altman had anything deeper in mind when working on the script.    4/5     WATCH: Prime Video

IMAGES

(dir. Robert Altman)

Before taking on the genre defying 1973 film The Long Goodbye, Robert Altman took his talents to the UK for one of the most wildly surreal and psychological films in his filmography.

Images stars Susannah York as a children’s author who spends a lot of alone time in a secluded Irish estate. While working on her latest book, she starts having visions of various men as well as a doppelgänger of herself. She also receives strange phone calls that insinuate to her that her husband is having an affair.

Now, that’s about as good as I can get at attempting to give a synopsis on the film. Altman doesn’t really spend too much time creating a coherent plot to follow, instead opting to execute a stylish and psychologically stimulating film. It’s pretty clear that Altman was influenced by Bergman’s Persona in the creation of this film. In fact, Altman had this idea in the mid 60s and didn’t get an opportunity to actually make it until 1971. It was a box office disappointment in both the US and the UK, but you can’t really argue that it was for any other reason than that this is an art film. It’s very difficult to understand, if there is anything to even understand, and must be appreciated on a facial level. Any attempt to dig deeper might be futile. God knows if Altman had anything deeper in mind when working on the script.

4/5

WATCH: Prime Video

TALES FROM THE CRYPT     (dir. Freddie Francis)   Taken from the legendary EC Comics,  Tales from the Crypt  is an anthology horror film that hit such a stride with audiences that it influenced them to eventually create the legendary  Tales From the Crypt  tv series.  The film, directed by legendary director and cinematographer Freddie Francis, tells five separate stories of death involving five different individuals who’ve accidentally stumbled into a spooky crypt. Only thing is, each of the stories are about them…  All five of the stories came from various EC Comic publications that were famous in the 1950s and  Tales From the Crypt  was one of the many anthology horror films to come out of Britain’s Amicus Productions in the 60s and 70s!  The film isn’t as personal or touching as some of the others on this list, but the films coming out of Amicus and other similar production studios at the time in Britain, influenced the horror genre greatly.    4.5/5     WATCH: YouTube (FREE)

TALES FROM THE CRYPT

(dir. Freddie Francis)

Taken from the legendary EC Comics, Tales from the Crypt is an anthology horror film that hit such a stride with audiences that it influenced them to eventually create the legendary Tales From the Crypt tv series.

The film, directed by legendary director and cinematographer Freddie Francis, tells five separate stories of death involving five different individuals who’ve accidentally stumbled into a spooky crypt. Only thing is, each of the stories are about them…

All five of the stories came from various EC Comic publications that were famous in the 1950s and Tales From the Crypt was one of the many anthology horror films to come out of Britain’s Amicus Productions in the 60s and 70s!

The film isn’t as personal or touching as some of the others on this list, but the films coming out of Amicus and other similar production studios at the time in Britain, influenced the horror genre greatly.

4.5/5

WATCH: YouTube (FREE)

DON’T LOOK NOW     (dir. Nicolas Roeg)    Don’t Look Now  has been praised over and over again as being one of the most extraordinarily innovative British films of all time.  Nicolas Roeg, director of  Walkabout , made yet another masterpiece with  Don’t Look Now . The film stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as John and Christie, a couple from England that travels to Venice in the wake of the accidental death of their young daughter. While in Venice, John works restoring an old church when Christie meets a psychic who acts as a medium between her and her lost daughter. John also starts seeing strange visions as he sees a look a like of his daughter running all around the river-laden town of Venice.  Upon it’s release, the film garnered quite a bit of controversy for a pretty explicit and risqué sex scene, that for the time, was completely out of pocket. More importantly though, the film is widely remembered for Roeg’s unique cinematography and editing techniques. The film takes the point of view of various characters and uses different motifs and symbols as a guideline for editing. There are a few nods to the great Hitchcock, but what Roeg made with  Don’t Look Now  is something entirely unique and special. This truly deserves recognition for being one of the greatest contributions to British cinema of all time.    5/5     WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker

DON’T LOOK NOW

(dir. Nicolas Roeg)

Don’t Look Now has been praised over and over again as being one of the most extraordinarily innovative British films of all time.

Nicolas Roeg, director of Walkabout, made yet another masterpiece with Don’t Look Now. The film stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as John and Christie, a couple from England that travels to Venice in the wake of the accidental death of their young daughter. While in Venice, John works restoring an old church when Christie meets a psychic who acts as a medium between her and her lost daughter. John also starts seeing strange visions as he sees a look a like of his daughter running all around the river-laden town of Venice.

Upon it’s release, the film garnered quite a bit of controversy for a pretty explicit and risqué sex scene, that for the time, was completely out of pocket. More importantly though, the film is widely remembered for Roeg’s unique cinematography and editing techniques. The film takes the point of view of various characters and uses different motifs and symbols as a guideline for editing. There are a few nods to the great Hitchcock, but what Roeg made with Don’t Look Now is something entirely unique and special. This truly deserves recognition for being one of the greatest contributions to British cinema of all time.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker

THE WICKER MAN     (dir. Robin Hardy)   This 1973 British horror film is unlike many other horror films I’ve ever come across.  Hardy’s film stars Edward Woodward as Sgt. Howie, a mainland officer who’s travelled to the Scottish island of Summerisle to search for a missing girl that was reported to him. While there, he notices that the locals are a little off and the whole island follows the sacred traditions of a Celtic pagan religion. This conflict with Sgt. Howie’s strong Christian morals creates a striking divide in Howie being able to successfully carry out this search for the missing little girl.   The Wicker Man  was made in the attempt to really revive British horror cinema and it actually performed pretty poorly at the box office. However, time was very kind to this film and it was noted and praised for it’s unique take on the horror genre. Hardy implements supernatural horror without anything supernatural having to take place and creates a stunning story about sexual guilt, repression, and how religion is a driving force behind all sexual aggravations in society.  Now, when searching for this film don’t think you can put on the 2006 remake with Nic Cage and expect to feel and experience the same thing viewers of the original do… It’s a legit steaming pile of shit.    5/5     WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker

THE WICKER MAN

(dir. Robin Hardy)

This 1973 British horror film is unlike many other horror films I’ve ever come across.

Hardy’s film stars Edward Woodward as Sgt. Howie, a mainland officer who’s travelled to the Scottish island of Summerisle to search for a missing girl that was reported to him. While there, he notices that the locals are a little off and the whole island follows the sacred traditions of a Celtic pagan religion. This conflict with Sgt. Howie’s strong Christian morals creates a striking divide in Howie being able to successfully carry out this search for the missing little girl.

The Wicker Man was made in the attempt to really revive British horror cinema and it actually performed pretty poorly at the box office. However, time was very kind to this film and it was noted and praised for it’s unique take on the horror genre. Hardy implements supernatural horror without anything supernatural having to take place and creates a stunning story about sexual guilt, repression, and how religion is a driving force behind all sexual aggravations in society.

Now, when searching for this film don’t think you can put on the 2006 remake with Nic Cage and expect to feel and experience the same thing viewers of the original do… It’s a legit steaming pile of shit.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker