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He streets of Walton on Thames There s also something compassionate about his writing and though many of the characters in the early days of British cinema were frankly venal he aways gives them their due as if they just couldn t help themselvesMy favourite story from many is the man who needed to film a shipwreck and so spent two months filling a tank in his backyard in Finchley with water from a tapeat that Spielburg Long ridiculed as being insignificant by the rest of the film making world Matthew Sweets investigates this history of British film the majority of which very few remain and the silent stars unlike some of their American counterparts are sadly completely forgottenShepperton Babylon unlike Hollywood Babylon Kenneth Anger is not full of over blown and made up scandal of course there is scandal but it is dealt with in a matter of fact and responsible waySweet talked to those who were still iving that remembered those days or when they were no My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel longeriving their descendentIt is an interesting ook at British cinema from the early days to the early 80s sexplotation industry that took over from the film making of the 50sToday British film is stronger than it has ever been and it is a shame that many of these films are ost and the stars it has ever been and it is a shame that many of these films are ROMANCE lost and the stars very interesting the book is very dense and sweet skips over perhaps one of the most famous British Actresses Diana Dors but focuses mainly on the male stars which is a shame and bemusing as she was the glamour movie star of 50s BritainInteresting read but the definitive book on British Cinema has yet to be written If you reooking for a serious history of British Film making then I wouldn t recommend this book but if you already have some knowledge and you re interested in the gossip then you would probably enjoy it This was a book club choice and therefore not something that I would gossip then you would probably enjoy it This was a book club choice and therefore not something that I would chosen myself however I did Chosen for Greatness look forward to reading it The problem for me was that the author assumed the reader had than a basic knowledge already and I didn t There sots of interesting information Eyes off the Prize The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights 19441955 lots of people names anecdotes gossip and titilation Just because of the sheer volume of people mentioned you do need to concentrate to remember who was who Whilst I enjoyed the author s humour sometimes I did find his writing style aittle heavy going with many very ong sentences I got fed up HAVING TO FREUENTLY LOOK UP WORDS SO I STOPPED to freuently ook up words so I stopped it which I wish I had done sooner as it was no The First Mistake longer such a slog once I was able to make unfettered progress The author was very forthright in his criticism opinions and praise He wasn t afraid to be honest or disagree with others His research was thorough and he did point out that he had watched all of the movies available I thought some of his personal comments about people were unnecessary and sometimes came across aittle mean I m no Norman Wisdom fan but his interview was just such an example On a positive he did interview many forgotten stars from the silent movie era who have since died so that their memories were recorded I found much of the book particularly the interviews a bit sad to be honest but fascinating in that people haven t really changed The uest for fame and coping with the Shell Beak Tusk loss of it exploitation gossip drugs alcohol nepotism and media manipulation are still the same issues a hundred yearsater This book isn t a complete history as it ends in the early 1980 s Some movies are mentioned in passing but not discussed at all in particular those of the 1960 s A Taste of Honey and Kes for example I had heard of but were both brushed aside Cathy Come Home wasn t even mentioned Compared to the earlier decades I found the author s appraisal of the 60 s and to a The Adventurers lesser extent the 70 s faress documented which was disappointing. Comedienne who at the age of fifty five reinvented herself as a star of exploitation cinema and fondly remembers 'the one where I drilled in people's heads and ate their brains' Welcome to the ost worlds of British cine. Don t Commodity Conversations let the clever title fool you Yes it plays off Kenneth Anger s Hollywood Babylon but this is a serious history of British Cinema Call me strange but Iove British Cinema I wouldn t recommend the book unless you already have an interest in Britiish film but if you re as strange as I am this is a must read I d been meaning to read this book for a while as I enjoy books about the history of popular culture There s Effective Academic Writing 3: The Essay lots of information in here so it took me a while to read and it manages to deal with sometimes shocking and sensational events without resorting to tabloid style attitudes It s a good solidook at the history of British film and at the people who worked in the industry A definite must read for anyone interested in film Read this book and discard forever the idea that the denizens of British cinema were in any way ess colourful or bizarre than their Hollywood counterparts Sweet doles out gossip hard fact And Criticism In Judicious criticism in judicious His writing is delightful whether he is describing movies as a window into the ives of the dead or sketching an unforgettable portrait of J Arthur Rank He was a tall bulky man whose crumpled face and pendulous nose gave him the appearance of a proboscis monkey emerging from an old paper bag His interviews with film makers from as far back as the early 1920s preserve insights which would otherwise have been Running with the Kenyans lostHowever since his subject is the LOST worlds of British cinema he intentionally scants the very familiar in favour of the obscure for example there isittle here on the Ealing comedies and much on forgotten exploitation movies of the 1960s and 70s Nevertheless I can scarcely imagine a entertaining introduction to the history of British film An excellent book if somewhat incomplete as a general reference text on British cinema no Will Hay Jack Hulbert etc Full of bracing anecdotes and sound stage intrigue Despite Sweet s attempts to find a social studies value in the glut of Perdido Street Station low rent 70 s sex comedies theater chapters make for grim reading as the state uality and cachet of British cinema decline The slightly forced title aside this is a very different book from Ken Anger s archly cynical romp through the sleazy bywaters of Hollywood ore this is a wonderful witty entertaining book It is in fact an impassioned defence of British cinema kicking back against the critical dismissal of the home produced product championed by both foreign step forward M Truffaut and domestic critics Rachel Low is a highlighted as a particular villain here as the author of the definitive history which is mainly critical and making the case for a series of hidden gems from the silent era onwards through to the exploitation era though even Sweet struggles to make a case for the 80s It is also ittered with great interviews and anecdotes with stars producers and directors the general tone is generally one of warm affection allied to geekish knowledge and sophisticated awareness of the Duty literature and filmography So suck it up Francois Iearned so much from this deeply researched and filmography So suck it up Francois I earned so much from this deeply researched primer on the heyday of British film with a chapter or two thrown in about its decline I often got ost given that I m almost completely illiterate on this specific subject matter and because I m used to a Dreamland. Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep linear storytelling method which this isn t but I m sure Il be dipping back into this when I want to remind myself of specific information Matthew Sweet writes in such an engaging often amusing style I found myself jotting random uotes of his into my book journal just because they made me augh He suggests that one of his interviews felt ike he was in a hostage situation and he worried that perhaps his ater affection for his interviewee might be a symptom of Stockholm Syndrome than of the person This is a wonderful secret history of British movies that includes the scandals the suicides the immolations and the contract killings the product of thousands of conversations with veteran film makers Here you'll meet Ecoming nicer or interesting So many fun tidbits to be found here for instance did you know that ODEON is an acronym for Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation Me neither I also Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart learned that people in the age group I was in when this book was releasedook down their noses at Ealing comedies as it happens i uite ike them as it happens I uite ike them I don t know if that s because I m a contrarian or because I was born in the States There is a Telecommunications Network Design Algorithms lot to be said for the culturalens through which we view film or any other media for that matter Get the book invest in ots of post its or a book journal so you can point yourself to the interestingengaging bits of information and maybe set your DVR for movies featuring Donald Cathrop or early James Mason Once you ve read what Matthew Sweet has to say about these folks and many others you may find yourself watching these with new or renewed interest Although the title of this book would infer that the main subject is Shepperton Studios one of Britain s film production sites it s really a general history of British film with an emphasis on the silents and the mid century golden age The majority of silent movies produced by the British film industry are gone forever with few remembering the stars and directors who made them Since I knew next to nothing about these with the exception of the Hitchcock silents the reading was most interestingThe stories show excellent research and several in person interviews with some of the centenarians now gone And as with the notorious stories of the Hollywood Silent Era there were eual amounts of tragedy across the pond John Marlborough East was voted the Greatest British Film Player in 1916 yet just eight years ater he was forgotten and died an agonizing gangrenous death after stepping on a rusty nail Anita Fay Tipping was a background dancer who was sitting in Donald Calthrop s dressing room when she accidentally set herself on fire and died after ten hours of burnt pain Others died in alcoholic misery either all alone or in small nursing homes completely forgotten by filmgoersThis was engrossing throughout but not always for the right reasons which is why I deducted one star from my rating There are errors Marion Davies was NOT Hearst s wife and the crude snarky comments exhibited against some folks come across as plain meanRichard NOT Hearst s wife and the crude snarky comments exhibited against some folks come across as plain meanRichard was born for sleaze and terrorDirk Bogarde was a sullen savage unpredictable entityJohn Mills was Britain s universal grandfatherJ Arthur Rank was acting on instructions from GodOthers are derided for their height or age Not a good Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation, 19th (University Casebook Series) look no matter how dedicated the author is to his subject matter However there were always fascinating tidbits toearn Having always wondered how the ODEON movie theatres were named I earned it was an acronym for Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation And then there was the tale of the film crew that drank all the booze from a ocal pub in Turville Since it happened during WWII and war restrictions prevented the Caveman Alien's Trap Caveman Aliens landlord from replenishing his supply he ended up committing suicide rather than face the anger of the thirstyocalsThanks to this book I have already started to watch some old British flicks so something good did pop out from these pagesBook Season Spring downpours and bright spells Of course the subject is inherantly interesting but what makes this a wonderful book is Matthew Sweet s writing I isten to him on BBC Radio 3 s Free Thinking when ever he presents and have noticed he s at his best when truffle hunting the obscure forests of British pop culture Listen to the great show on Hitchcock s Blackmail or the forays into the sualid film genre of British sit coms of the 70s transferred to the screen On the Buses Steptoe and Son etc Sweet s a master of the upbeatdownbeat riff They brought mayhem to Mong many others the 20s film idols snorting cocaine from an illuminated glass dance floor on the bank of the Thames the model who escaped Soho's gangsters to become the ueen of the nudie flicks and the genteel Scottish. Shepperton Babylon