British Cinema After Mr. Hitler's War





As everyone knows, the British cinema of the postwar period consisted of David Lean ("Great Expectations"), Laurence Olivier ("Hamlet") and those charming Ealing comedies ("The Man in the White Suit").

Except that it didn't. The Britons weren't just producing high-toned, literary films intended for export, though it's easy to get that impression from reading most of the standard film histories. Britain was also home to a rich tradition of genre filmmaking — thrillers, musicals, comedies and crime films — much of which remains unknown to American audiences.

Brit Noir, a four week, 44-film series that begins Friday at Film Forum in Manhattan, offers a tantalizing peek at a vast, still largely unexplored body of work: the crime films and thrillers that began to appear in the years just before World War II and came into their own between the end of the war and the late 1950s. The full schedule is at filmforum.org....

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