The Picturehouse’s Made in Britain season culminated with a screening of Hammer’s Quatermass and the Pit (Ward Baker, 1967). It was supposed to be a season of films (five in total), which celebrated British cinema. But was it a success?
The season set out to illustrate the best latest British digital releases of films from the last century, as opposed to a selection of the best British films ever made. And by last century, they’re actually referring to the post WW2 period (late-1940s) to the mid-1970s. In fact, the films only span 30 years -more’s the pity.
The films which featured were: Passport to Pimlico (Cornelius, 1949); The Plague of the Zombies (Gilling, 1966); The Man Who Fell to Earth (Roeg, 1976); Hobson’s Choice (Lean, 1954); and finally, Quatermass and the Pit.
While I enjoyed watching the majority of these films, I do feel that the season reflects a wasted opportunity. Digitally updating old films should be an excuse to bring out the true classics.
Maybe it reflects the taste of the nation and the growing interest in the house of horror, but was it really necessary to have two Hammer films, when surely one would have sufficed? And I know zombies are popular, but there are far better British horror films to choose from than the lacklustre The Plague of the Zombies.
Hobson’s Choice was enjoyable, but it left me aching for Lean’s later films, such as Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (Lean, 1957). Hobson’s Choice would have been better suited as part of a David Lean season.
Quatermass and the Pit was a nice choice, but it was the second Science-Fiction film in the season and it was never going to better the season’s mid-way film, Nicolas Roeg’s, The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Roeg’s film was, without doubt, the best film on offer. It is a film which highlights just what a talent Roeg is (and was), so perhaps there should be a season revisiting Roeg’s back catalogue (of often overlooked classics).
Seasons like this should be commended, not only do you get the chance to see lesser-known films on the big screen, but it also reflects current trends as it focused solely on the latest digital releases. And with that The Made in Britain season should have reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the British cinema, but disappointingly, it didn’t.
Amended on Thursday, July 12