January 2, 2017

Night Train to Murder (1983)

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So, another year passes. Which means only one thing- the seasonal Britmovie double-whammy is upon me, and, charged with the unenviable task of reviewing two suitably Yulesque flicks for the site, I find myself once again asking �what exactly constitutes a Christmas film?� It�s a fair question�.. Does it have to be set at Christmas? No. Does it have to be something regularly shown on TV during that season? Possibly. But most of all, does it have to have some kind of innate warmth, something … [Read more...]

Crime Over London (1936)

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"Listen Jim, our job is to behave ourselves like perfect little gentlemen." So says Joker Finnegan (Basil Sydney), ringleader of a Chicago gang who decides to take a break from the underworld with his cohorts in London, England in �Crime Over London.� London seems like the perfect place to get away from it all, being in a country that is seemingly� �too normal and too healthy minded� according to one of the gangsters. Yet as peaceful as London appears, there is also the opportunity to pull … [Read more...]

The Ruling Class (1972)

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This isn�t going to be easy. You see, I realised the other day, after having watched this film for the umpteenth time, that whilst it remains not only my all-time favourite British movie but my favourite flick per se, I had never thought before of reviewing it for this site. Strange, possibly, when you put it like that, but at the same time understandable, as we journo types are supposed to approach these things from a certain degree of unbiased objectivity (or so they keep telling us) … [Read more...]

Gainsborough Melodramas: A Unique Phenomenon

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The films known as the Gainsborough Melodramas are generally taken to be the series of costume dramas, based on popular novels, beginning with The Man in Grey (1943) and ending with Jassy (1947). Typically these are characterised as high-flown, unbelievable and formulaic, although they have a more respectable reputation amongst students of film history. They still receive the occasional airing on television, but are not generally as well-known as other landmarks of British cinema � notably the … [Read more...]

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

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"Sherlock Holmes' Most Terrifying Adventure!" I have always found it somewhat ironic that in his most famous case, Sherlock Holmes is largely absent from The Hound of the Baskervilles. However, despite the enduring popularity of the world's greatest consulting detective, I would argue that the story owes much of its standing to the "horror" elements of the plot and that it is the Hound, rather than Holmes, that features as the main attraction for many readers or viewers. Indeed, if we assume … [Read more...]

Voice Over (1981)

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Comprising probably the strangest release in Flipside�s already ample canon since its inception less than three years ago, these two Welsh- yes, you read that right, cult enthusiasts, Welsh- films, which make up two thirds of the early output of yet another British director to later find greater fortune across the Atlantic, are also possibly the most mixed bag so far issued under that label�s aegis. Earlier this year, the mid-1970s double-header Duffer/ The Moon Over The Alley (trust me, it … [Read more...]

Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974)

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�It�s no good theorising about getting up, it�s the act that counts� David Halliwell�s by-now-legendary play, here turned by an American director into one of the essential works of British art cinema (even though the playwright himself would doubtless have disapproved of such categorisation) has previously been approached from many angles, but there, less than 20 seconds in, is possibly the one single line that encapsulates its very essence more than any other. It is also befitting that it … [Read more...]