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The British 'B' Film [Paperback]

Stephen Chibnall , Brian McFarlane
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 17.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 Oct 2009

This is the first book to provide a thorough examination of the British 'B' movie, from the war years to the 1960s.  The authors draw on archival research, contemporary trade papers and interviews with key 'B' filmmakers to map the 'B' movie phenomenon both as artefact and as industry product, and as a reflection on their times.

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The British 'B' Film + Quota Quickies: The Birth of the British 'B ' Film
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute (23 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844573192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844573196
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 17.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Both an invocation and a loving catalogue, the book is rich in detail drawn from the history of the Bs before changing taste, alterations in the law and the irresistible rise of television rendered the species extinct.' - Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

Major study of the British 'B' movie, incorporating original archival research.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane's The British B Film is essentially a sequel to the pair's 2007 volume, 'Quota Quickies: The Birth of the British B Film'. Taking up the story at the outbreak of the Second World War, this meticulously researched and infectiously written study begins by demonstrating the importance of B pictures to the war effort, With their combination of documentary and dramatic material, the likes of John Baxter's The Shipbuilders and Humphrey Jennings's The Silent Village (both 1943) informed and inspired audiences and provided the vital link between the actualities that had launched the British Documentary Movement in the 1930s and the Free Cinema outings that were to transform it in the 1950s. The B also played its part in the postwar era of austerity and reconstruction, with its brisk, but civilised attempts at British-ising film noir presenting a fascinating snapshot of the social and cultural mores of the times, as well as some of their more pernicious flaws. But funding was always a problem for Poverty Row outfits like Butcher's, Merton Park and Danziger Productions and the writing was on the wall once television started to deplete cinema audiences. Nevertheless, many B journeymen found themselves small-screen niches and several star names went on to bigger and (sometimes) better things in features and soap operas. Packing the pages with titles, credits and trivia, Chibnall and McFarlane have produced an invaluable primer on the neglected featurettes that entertained generations of UK moviegoers. The overviews of the main studios and the more prominent directors, writers, cinematographers and stars are as acute as they're concise. Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic read that's difficult to put down... 14 Dec 2009
As a fan of the British "B" film this book is exactly what I'd hoped for, providing an insight into the production, success and eventual demise of the second feature. There are so many familiar names both behind and in front of the cameras if you are of a certain age and perhaps the nostalgia of the period is what we all long for today. The book is well researched and will be a suitable resource for those who wish to do their own research into film production in the UK. The only minus and it does not detract sufficiently to reduce the overall 5 star rating is the poor print quality (over dark) of some of the illustrations in this paperback edition. Other wise an excellent and most welcome book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bible For British B Movie Enthusiasts 4 Aug 2011
By Wingate
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sitting in the circle of the ABC Golders Green in the early 60s watching the erie picture of a uplit bust of Edgar wallace with the spinechilling "Man Of Mystery" wafting over the soundtrack i could never have imagined that 50 years later i would be reading a book devoted to films of their genre.What an evocative book this is.I remember seeing so many of these films at the aforementioned ABC or the Odeon Temple Fortune.Some times you would come in part the way through the B feature and would stay on after the main feature to watch the first part of the B feature that you had missed.Sure there were some rubbish films but there were some great ones.I recently saw "House Of Mystery" again and found it to be one of the most chilling films ever.The Edgar Wallace series introduced young talent such as Michael Caine and John Thaw as well as showcasing familiar favourites such as Bernard Lee and maurice Denham.This book covers every imaginable aspect of the genre from cast,crew,producing companies and the films themselves.The print is a bit on the small size making for a rather intense read and it is even smaller under the many photos.The captions are very witty.In all one of my best books of 2011.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oh the good old days! 6 May 2011
the names that pop up in this great book are amazing! robert beatty, lee patterson, john bentley, tom conway, naomi chance to name a few. the narrative is excellent and the breakdown of actors, writers, directors, studios etc has been well researced. oh, where are those movies now? the section on american actors working in british films was interesting, makes one wonder what sort of salaries they made. an all round great read.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "B" films 1 Jan 2010
Bought for my son-in-law, who is a real "movie buff". He is delighted with the book.
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