Cover image for Guide to British cinema
Guide to British cinema
Mayer, Geoff.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvi, 440 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1993.5.G7 M327 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Scholarly and popular interest in British cinema has never been stronger, with films ranging from the Merchant/Ivory pictures through Notting Hill finding both critical and commercial success in America. As such, The Guide to British Cinema represents an invaluable guide to the nation's cinematic output, including entries on major British actors, directors, and films from 1929 through the present day. The volume also highlights both major cycles such as the Gainsborough melodrama, the Ealing comedy, and the British new wave; as well as less well-defined cycles including the vein of dark melodramas that characterized the British cinema from 1945 to 1950.

Such figures as Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, and Dirk Bogarde are covered in detail, as well as Christopher Lee, Roy Ward Baker, Ray Winstone, and other long-serving but less well-known artists. The Guide pays close attention to films including The Third Man and Brief Encounter as well as genre pieces such as Brighton Rock . In all, the volume represents the first full-length examination of its subject, providing an irreplaceable resource for both film scholars and historians of British culture.

Author Notes

GEOFF MAYER is the Chair of the Cinema Studies Department and Deputy Chair of the School of Communication, Arts, and Critical Enquiry at Latrobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He co-edited The Oxford Companion to Australian Film and was the author of New Australian Cinema and Film as Text .

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This latest volume from Mayer (Oxford Companion to Australian Film) explores the full range of British cinema, from the birth of the "talkies"-Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929)-to Terrence Davies's House of Mirth (2000). He covers both popular and "artistic" narrative feature films but excludes documentaries and the avant-garde. Alphabetically arranged and written for a general audience, the one-page entries each cover significant actors, directors, and films of the period, including examples from major genres and cycles. The film entries include basic cast and crew information along with a plot summary and critique, whereas actor and director entries feature brief biographies, filmographies, and career highlights. An appendix of films, actors, and directors, a six-page secondary bibliography, and a name and title index complete the volume. Not every actor or film is studied here, but the range should satisfy most users. Neither a comprehensive guide nor a "best of" compendium, Mayer's work is nevertheless useful as an introduction to the country's film history. A handy encyclopedic companion to the numerous narrative histories of British cinema, including Robert Murphy's The British Cinema Book, 2d ed., and Charles Barr's All Our Yesterdays, in addition to McFarlane's new Encyclopedia of British Film. Highly recommended for all film collections.-Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Mayer's addition to Greenwood's "Reference Guides to the World's Cinema" series is a subjective guide to British cinema, 1929-2000. It focuses on the best films, award winners, and on films that were socially or politically significant at the time of their release. In his introduction, Mayer explains his criteria for films, actors, and directors included in the guide. For films, he supplies year of release, studio, production staff, cast, plot summary, and running commentary to provide insight into the creation and significance of each film. For actors and directors, he gives relevant biographical information and filmographies. An appendix lists the films, actors, and directors included in the book. A selected bibliography cites excellent sources for further reading or research on the British film industry. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Undergraduate and graduate collections on cinema studies. M. W. Wildman SUNY at Cortland

Table of Contents

Introduction British Films, Actors, and Directors
Appendix: List of Films, Actors, and Directors
Selected Bibliography
General Index