AS FilmStudiesFM2: British & American FilmThe British FilmIndustry                 1
INTRODUCTIONIn our studies so far we have concluded that Hollywood dominates anotherwise global film industry, mainly thro...
•   What makes James Bond a ‘British icon’?•   Is Casino Royale a British movie? Present arguments for and against.       ...
HistoryFilm production in the UK has experienced a number of booms and recessions.Although many factors can be used to mea...
makers learnt their craft making these films, including Michael Powell and AlfredHitchcock.In the silent era, audiences we...
The films were personal, poetic, imaginative in their use of sound and narration, andfeatured ordinary working-class peopl...
starring Mary Millington such as Come Play with Me, and the Confessions of... seriesstarring Robin Askwith, beginning with...
with other box office hits including Bean (1997), Elizabeth (1998) and CaptainCorellis Mandolin (2001).The new appetite fo...
The turn of the new century saw a revival of the British horror film. Lead by DannyBoyles acclaimed hit 28 Days Later (200...
Use the grid below to identify changing patterns in British film productionDecade       Social contexts                   ...
Film maker Alan Parker noted in his 2002 presentation to the UK film industryentitled ‘Building a Sustainable UK Film Indu...
Global financial contextsThe global film industry is worth and estimated $63 billion (2002). TheAmerican industry takes 80...
Read through the information about the UK film council   •   Briefly, define the role of the studio and distributor in Hol...
CASE STUDY        Working Title Films        Movies produced by Working Title Films1.    Bran Mak Morn (2010) ... Producti...
•   Look over the list of films produced by Working Title. Try to make a       shortlist of what you think would have been...
Working Title built on the success of this film by producing other social realistfilms such as For Queen and Country (1988...
•   Look over the marketing material for Four Weddings and a Funeral       (1994) and Love Actually (2003). What makes thi...
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The british film industry

  1. 1. AS FilmStudiesFM2: British & American FilmThe British FilmIndustry 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTIONIn our studies so far we have concluded that Hollywood dominates anotherwise global film industry, mainly through large studios which are ownedby expansive media conglomerates capable of utilising far reaching andpenetrative media to target audiences and ‘sell’ a film which meets theirneeds, usually through genre, star or a combination of the two. This processis hugely successful, not least in Britain, but this does not address the factthat Britain has a healthy and long standing film industry of its own; one thatproduces films that are distinctly British and moreover are capable of successglobally, including America.This section of our study aims to • Identify what is distinctive and different about the British film industry • Explore how British films are funded and distributedIn our study of Thatcher’s Britain, we have looked at several British movies.What is it about these and other British movies that make them distinct fromother industries such as Hollywood? Consider representations of race,gender, sexuality, class. Try to summarise these points.How do British movies choose to represent Britain? 2
  3. 3. • What makes James Bond a ‘British icon’?• Is Casino Royale a British movie? Present arguments for and against. 3
  4. 4. HistoryFilm production in the UK has experienced a number of booms and recessions.Although many factors can be used to measure the success of the industry, thenumber of British films produced each year gives an overview of its development: theindustry experienced a boom as it first developed in the 1910s, but during the 1920sexperienced a recession caused by US competition and commercial practices. TheCinematograph Films Act 1927 introduced protective measures, leading to recoveryand an all-time production high of 192 films in 1936. Production then declined for anumber of years. Film production recovered after the war, with a long period ofrelative stability and growing American investment. But another recession hit theindustry in the mid-1970s, reaching an all-time low of 24 films in 1981. Lowproduction continued throughout the 1980s, but it increased again in the 1990s withrenewed private and public investment. Although production levels give an overview,the history of British cinema is complex, with various cultural movements developingindependently. Some of the most successful films were made during recessions,such as Chariots of Fire (1981).This graph shows the number of British films made in the last 100 yearsBy the mid-twenties the British film industry was losing out to heavy competition fromHollywood, the latter helped by having a much larger home market. In 1914, 25% offilms shown in the UK were British — by 1926 this had fallen to 5%.The Cinematograph Films Act 1927 was passed in order to boost local production,requiring that cinemas show a certain percentage of British films. The act wastechnically a success, with audiences for British films becoming larger than the quotarequired. But it had the effect of creating a market for quota quickies: poor quality,low cost films, made in order to satisfy the quota. Some critics have blamed thequickies for holding back the development of the industry. However, many British film 4
  5. 5. makers learnt their craft making these films, including Michael Powell and AlfredHitchcock.In the silent era, audiences were receptive to films from all nations. However, withthe advent of sound films, many foreign actors or those with strong regional accentssoon found themselves in less demand, and more formal English (receivedpronunciation) became the norm. Sound also increased the influence of alreadypopular American films.World War IIThe constraints imposed by World War II seemed to give new energy to the Britishfilm industry. After a faltering start, British films began to make increasing use ofdocumentary techniques and former documentary film-makers to make more realisticfilms, many of which helped to shape the popular image of the nation at war. Amongthe best known of these films are In Which We Serve (1942), Went the Day Well?(1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), Millions Like Us (1943) and The Way Ahead(1944). This also saw the beginning of what would become known as British SocialRealism which would re-emerge in the 1960’s with the ‘kitchen-sink/angry young mandramas such as Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1960) and This Sporting Life(1963).Post-war cinemaBritish cinemas growing international reputation was enhanced by the success ofThe Red Shoes (1948), the most commercially successful film of its year in the U.S.,and by Laurence Oliviers Hamlet, the first non-American film to win the AcademyAward for Best Picture. Ealing Studios embarked on their series of celebratedcomedies, including Whisky Galore (1948), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) andThe Man in the White Suit (1951).After a string of successful films, including the comedies The Lavender Hill Mob(1951), The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953) and The Ladykillers (1955), as well asdramas like Dead of Night, Scott of the Antarctic and The Cruel Sea, Ealing Studiosfinally ceased production in 1958, and the studios were taken over by the BBC fortelevision production.Less restrictive censorship towards the end of the 1950s encouraged B-movieproducer Hammer Films to embark on their series of influential and wildly successfulhorror films. Beginning with black and white adaptations of Nigel Kneales BBCscience fiction serials The Quatermass Experiment (1955) and Quatermass II (1957),Hammer quickly graduated to deceptively lavish colour versions of Frankenstein,Dracula and The Mummy. Their enormous commercial success encouraged them toturn out sequel after sequel, and led to an explosion in horror film production inBritain that would last for nearly two decades. Hammer would dominate British horrorproduction throughout this period, but other companies were created specifically tomeet the new demand, including Amicus Productions and Tigon British.The British New Wave: Social realisim in the 1960’sThe term British New Wave, or "Kitchen Sink Realism", is used to describe a group ofcommercial feature films made between 1955 and 1963 which portrayed a moregritty form of social realism than had been seen in British cinema previously. TheBritish New Wave feature films are often associated with a new openness aboutworking class life (e.g. A Taste of Honey, 1961), and previously taboo issues such asabortion and homosexuality. 5
  6. 6. The films were personal, poetic, imaginative in their use of sound and narration, andfeatured ordinary working-class people with sympathy and respect.The films also made stars out of their leading actors Albert Finney, Alan Bates, RitaTushingham, Richard Harris and Tom Courtenay.The 1960s BoomIn the 1960s British studios began to enjoy major success in the international marketwith a string of films that displayed a more liberated attitude to sex, capitalising onthe "swinging London" image propagated by Time magazine. Films like Darling, Alfie,Blowup, Repulsion and later Women in Love, broke taboos around the portrayal ofsex and nudity on screen.At the same time, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli combined sexwith exotic locations, casual violence and self-referential humour in thephenomenally successful James Bond series. The first film Dr. No was a sleeper hitin Britain in 1962, and the second, From Russia with Love (1963), a hit worldwide. Bythe time of the third film, Goldfinger (1964), the series had become a globalphenomenon, reaching its commercial peak with Thunderball the following year.American directors were regularly working in London throughout the decade, butseveral became permanent residents in Britain. Stanley Kubrick and Richard Lesterwere also influential. Lester had a major hit with The Beatles films A Hard DaysNight (1964) and Help! (1965),The success of these films and others as diverse as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Zulu(1964) and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) encouragedAmerican studios to invest significantly in British film production.Towards the end of the decade social realism was beginning to make its way backinto British films again. Influenced by his work on the Wednesday Play on Britishtelevision, Ken Loach directed the realistic dramas Poor Cow and Kes.The 1970sWith the film industry in both the United Kingdom and the United States entering intorecession, American studios cut back on domestic production, and in many caseswithdrew from financing British films altogether.The British horror boom of the 1960s also finally came to an end by the mid-1970s,with the leading producers Hammer and Amicus leaving the genre altogether in theface of competition from independents in the United States. Films like The TexasChain Saw Massacre (1974) made Hammers vampire films seem increasingly tameand outdated, despite attempts to spice up the formula with added nudity and gore.The horror boom was finally over by the middle of the decade.Some British producers, including Hammer, turned to television series for inspiration,and the big screen versions of shows and sit-coms like Steptoe and Son and On theBuses proved successful with domestic audiences. The other major influence onBritish comedy films in the decade was the Monty Python group, also from television.Their two most successful films were Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) andMonty Pythons Life of Brian (1979), the latter a major commercial success, probablyat least in part due to the considerable controversy surrounding its release.A loosening of censorship rules also brought on a minor boom of low-budget Britishsex comedies and soft-core porn movies. Most notable among these were films 6
  7. 7. starring Mary Millington such as Come Play with Me, and the Confessions of... seriesstarring Robin Askwith, beginning with Confessions of a Window Cleaner.More relaxed censorship in the 1970s also brought several controversial films,including Ken Russells The Devils (1970), Sam Peckinpahs Straw Dogs (1971),Quadrophenia (1979), and Stanley Kubricks A Clockwork Orange (1971). To takeadvantage of tax incentives there, some American productions did return to the majorBritish studios in 1977-79, including Star Wars at Elstree Studios, Superman atPinewood, and Alien at Shepperton.The 1980s: Renaissance and RecessionThe decade began with the worst recession the British film industry had ever seen. In1980 only 31 British films were made, down 50% on the previous year, and thelowest output since 1914. Production was down again the following year, to 24 films.However, the 1980s soon saw a renewed optimism, led by companies such asGoldcrest (and producer David Puttnam), Channel 4, Handmade Films and MerchantIvory Productions.When the Puttnam-produced Chariots of Fire (1981) won 4 Academy Awards in1982, including best picture, its writer Colin Welland declared "the British arecoming!" (quoting Paul Revere). When in 1983 Gandhi (also produced by Goldcrest)picked up best picture it looked as if he was right. It prompted a cycle of biggerbudget period films, including David Leans final film A Passage to India (1984) andthe Merchant Ivory adaptations of the works of E. M. Forster, such as A Room with aView (1986). However, further attempts to make big productions for the US marketended in failure, with Goldcrest losing independence after a trio of commercial flops,including the 1986 Palme dOr winner The Mission. By this stage the rest of the newtalent had moved on to Hollywood.With the involvement of Channel 4 in film production a number of new talents weredeveloped including Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette).Following the final winding up of the Rank Organisation, a series of companyconsolidations in British cinema distribution meant that it became ever harder forBritish productions. Another blow was the elimination of the tax concession by theConservative Government in 1984. The concession had made it possible for aforeign film company to write off a large amount of its production costs by filming inthe UK — this was what attracted a succession of blockbuster productions to Britishstudios in the 1970s. Many studios closed or focused on television work.British cinema in the 1990sFilm production in Britain hit one of its all-time lows in 1989. While cinema audienceswere climbing in the UK in the early 1990s, few British films were enjoying significantcommercial success, even in the home market. There was still a market for thetraditional British costume drama, and a large number of period films followed,including Sense and Sensibility (1995), Restoration (1995), Emma (1996), Mrs.Brown (1997), The Wings of the Dove (1997, Shakespeare in Love (1998).The surprise success of the Richard Curtis-scripted comedy Four Weddings and aFuneral (1994), which grossed $244 million worldwide and introduced Hugh Grant toglobal fame, led to renewed interest and investment in British films, and set a patternfor British-set romantic comedies, including Sliding Doors (1998) and Notting Hill(1999). Working Title Films, the company behind many of these films, quicklybecame one of the most successful British production companies of recent years, 7
  8. 8. with other box office hits including Bean (1997), Elizabeth (1998) and CaptainCorellis Mandolin (2001).The new appetite for British comedy films lead to the popular comedies Brassed Off(1996), and The Full Monty (1997). The latter film unexpectedly became a runawaysuccess and broke British box office records. Produced for under $4 m and grossing$257 m internationally, studios were encouraged to start smaller subsidiariesdedicated to looking for other low budget productions capable of producing similarreturns.With the introduction of public funding for British films through the new NationalLottery something of a production boom occurred in the late 1990s, but only a few ofthese films found significant commercial success, and many went unreleased. Theseincluded several gangster films attempting to imitate Guy Ritchies black comediesLock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).American productions also began to return to British studios in the mid-1990s,including Interview with the Vampire (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996), SavingPrivate Ryan (1998), Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) and TheMummy (1999), as well as the French production The Fifth Element (1997), at thetime claimed to be the most expensive film made in Britain.Mike Leigh emerged as a significant figure in British cinema in the 1990s with aseries of films financed by Channel 4 about working and middle class life in modernEngland, including Life Is Sweet (1991), Naked (1993) and his biggest hit Secretsand Lies, which won the Palme dOr at Cannes.Other new talents to emerge during the decade included the writer-director-producerteam of John Hodge, Danny Boyle and Andrew Macdonald responsible for ShallowGrave (1994) and Trainspotting (1996).British cinema since 2000The new century has so far been a relatively successful one for the British filmindustry. Many British films have found a wide international audience, and some ofthe independent production companies, such as Working Title, have securedfinancing and distribution deals with major American studios. Working Title scoredthree major international successes, all starring Hugh Grant, with the romanticcomedies Bridget Joness Diary (2001), which grossed $254 million worldwide; thesequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which earned $228 million; and RichardCurtiss directorial debut Love Actually (2003), which grossed $239 million. At thesame time, critically-acclaimed films such as Gosford Park (2001), Pride andPrejudice (2005), The Constant Gardener (2005), The Queen (2006) and The LastKing of Scotland (2006) also brought prestige to the British film industry.The new decade saw a major new film series in the US-backed but British madeHarry Potter films, beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in 2001and the numerous sequels.Aardman Animations Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit produced his firstfeature length film, Chicken Run in 2000. Co-directed with Peter Lord, the film was amajor success worldwide and one of the most successful British films of its year.Parks follow up, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was anotherworldwide hit, despite its utterly English story, setting, conception and humour. Thefilm grossed $56 million at the US box office and £32 million in the UK. It also wonthe 2005 Academy Award for best animated feature. 8
  9. 9. The turn of the new century saw a revival of the British horror film. Lead by DannyBoyles acclaimed hit 28 Days Later (2002), other examples included The Hole, DogSoldiers, The Descent and the comedy Shaun of the Dead.Notable British directors emerging during this period include Paul Greengrass(Bloody Sunday, United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) MichaelWinterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story) and Stephen Daldry,whose debut film Billy Elliot (2000) became one of the most successful British films ofits year.More established directors were also busy during this period however. In 2004, MikeLeigh directed Vera Drake, an account of a housewife who leads a double life as anabortionist in 1950s London. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice FilmFestival and three BAFTAs. Stephen Frears directed a trilogy of films about Britishlife, beginning with Dirty Pretty Things (about illegal migrant workers in Londonsblack economy), Mrs Henderson Presents (dealing with the Windmill Theatre inWorld War II) and The Queen (based on the events surrounding the death ofPrincess Diana). In 2006, Ken Loach won the Palme dOr at the Cannes Film Festivalwith his account of the struggle for Irish Independence in The Wind That Shakes theBarley.In 2007 a number of new British films achieved critical and commercial recognition,including a biography of the singer Ian Curtis in Control; the police comedy Hot Fuzz;the sequel to Elizabeth entitled Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Joe Wrightsadaptation of the Ian McEwan novel Atonement. Set in 1935 and during the SecondWorld War, the film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Film.Despite increasing competition from film studios in Australia and Eastern Europe(especially the Czech Republic), British studios such as Pinewood, Shepperton andLeavesden remained successful in hosting major foreign productions such as FindingNeverland, V for Vendetta, Closer, The Mummy Returns, Troy, Charlie and theChocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, United 93, The Phantom of the Opera, The GoldenCompass, Sweeney Todd, Mamma Mia! and The Wolf Man.The film industry remains an important earner for the British economy. According to aUK Film Council press release of 15 January 2007, £840.1 million was spent onmaking films in the UK during 2006.English actor Daniel Craig became the new James Bond with Casino Royale, the21st entry in the official Eon Productions series. The film was nominated for nineBAFTA awards, the highest recognition for a Bond film. The 2008 British-produceddrama film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, has received worldwidecritical acclaim. It has won four Golden Globes, seven BAFTA Awards and eightAcademy Awards, including Best Director and Best Film.British actors and actresses have always been significant in international cinema.Well-known currently active performers include Catherine Zeta Jones, Sir IanMckellen ,Clive Owen, Rachel Weisz, Paul Bettany, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor,Kate Beckinsale, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Jude Law, Daniel Radcliffe, KeiraKnightley, Ralph Fiennes, Orlando Bloom, Tilda Swinton, Daniel Day Lewis, ChristianBale, Jason Statham, Rhys Ifans, Sir Ben Kingsley, Naveen Andrews, ParminderNagra and Dev Patel. 9
  10. 10. Use the grid below to identify changing patterns in British film productionDecade Social contexts Types of films being made1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s2000s 10
  11. 11. Film maker Alan Parker noted in his 2002 presentation to the UK film industryentitled ‘Building a Sustainable UK Film Industry: “First. We have outstanding creative skills. We’ve got superb writers, directors and actors – not to mention the creators of hugely valuable intellectual properties like Harry Potter. Richard Curtis, for instance, has written British films which have grossed over a billion dollars at the world box office. Second. We have outstanding studios and facilities companies, world class costumiers, camera companies and digital post production houses-studios and facilities which have been a magnet for inward investment, principally from the US. Third. We still have- just about- the finest technicians and craftspeople anywhere-although they are diminishing at a worrying rate. I could also add a fourth: we have the English language- not just the same language of American movies, but also that of the Internet.” • What do you think he meant by his last point? In what ways is this advantageous? 11
  12. 12. Global financial contextsThe global film industry is worth and estimated $63 billion (2002). TheAmerican industry takes 80 per cent whereas Britain takes 5 per cent.Although this may seem a comparatively very small share, it also means thatBritain has 25 per cent of the non-American share: a much healthier view!The UK Film Council (2000-2011)The UK Film Council (UKFC) was set up in 2000 by the Labour Governmentas a non-departmental public body to develop and promote the film industry inthe UK. It is constituted as a private company limited by guarantee governedby a board of 15 directors and is funded through sources including TheNational Lottery.ObjectivesIn its own words, the aim of UKFC is:“To stimulate a competitive, successful and vibrant UK film industry andculture, and to promote the widest possible enjoyment and understanding ofcinema throughout the nations and regions of the UK.”UKFC has a mandate that spans cultural, social and economic priorities.ActivitiesUKFC administers and funds a range of different activities, including: • Film Making - Arguably the most visible activity of UKFC is its direct funding for feature and short films. There are 3 Funds offering around £17m Lottery funding per year for the production and development of films. The UK Film Councils International Department (previously known as the British Film Commission) works to ensure that the UK remains an attractive production base for international films. • Exhibition & Distribution - The UK Film Council supports the distribution and exhibition of specialised film in the UK and has launched various schemes to do this. • Education & Training - The UKFC also funds the British Film Institute (BFI), Skillset, the sector skills agency for the audiovisual industry, and First Light, which offers film-making opportunities to children. • Regional & National Film Activity - The UKFC funds nine regional screen agencies via its Regional Investment Fund for England (RIFE) which deliver the Councils activities within each English region. It also funds activity in the UK nations via Scottish Screen, Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission and the Film Agency for Wales. • Advocacy - The UKFC also acts as an advocacy body for the country’s film industry. In 2004 UKFC criticised the BBC for not having done enough for UK film making. Notable achievements in terms of UKFCs advocacy role include the re-negotiation of tax incentives for film-making in the UK. 12
  13. 13. Read through the information about the UK film council • Briefly, define the role of the studio and distributor in Hollywood • How did the role of the UK Film Council differ? Consider both production and distribution. Use the subheadings above to help you.Closure of the UK Film CouncilThe current Conservative government abolished the UK Film Council in 2011.From 1 April 2011 the UK Film Councils responsibilities for ensuring that theeconomic, cultural and educational aspects of film would be effectivelyrepresented at home and abroad by the British Film Institute (BFI) and FilmLondon.Research • Who are the BFI and what will their new role be? • What were the reasons for closing the UK Film Council? • Provide arguments for and against its closure. Use details from related news items on this topic. 13
  14. 14. CASE STUDY Working Title Films Movies produced by Working Title Films1. Bran Mak Morn (2010) ... Production Company 61. Notting Hill (1999) ... Production Company2. The Pact (2010) ... Production Company 62. Plunkett & Macleane (1999) ... Production Company3. Paul (2010) ... Production Company 63. The Hi-Lo Country (1998) ... Production Company4. The Worlds End (2010) ... Production Company 64. Elizabeth (1998) ... Production Company5. Green Zone (2009) ... Production Company 65. What Rats Wont Do (1998) ... Production Company6. A Serious Man (2009) ... Production Company 66. "More Tales of the City" (1998) ... Production Company7. The Soloist (2009) ... Production Company 67. The Big Lebowski (1998) ... Production Company8. State of Play (2009) ... Production Company 68. Eight (1998) ... Production Company9. The Boat That Rocked (2009) ... Production Company 69. The Borrowers (1997) ... Production Company10. Birdsong (2009) ... Production Company 70. The MatchMaker (1997) ... Production Company11. The Dangerous Husband (2009) ... Production Company 71. Bean (1997) ... Production Company12. Hippie Hippie Shake (2009) ... Production Company 72. Huitième jour, Le (1996) ... Production Company13. Lost for Words (2009) ... Production Company 73. "Zig and Zags Dirty Deeds" (1996) ... Production Company14. The Troubleshooter (2009) ... Production Company 74. Fargo (1996) ... Production Company (in association with)15. Gimme Shelter (2008) (V) ... Production Company 75. Loch Ness (1996) ... Production Company16. Frost/Nixon (2008) ... Production Company 76. Dead Man Walking (1995) ... Production Company17. Burn After Reading (2008) ... Production Company 77. Moonlight and Valentino (1995) ... Production Company18. Wild Child (2008) ... Production Company 78. French Kiss (1995) ... Production Company19. Definitely, Maybe (2008) ... Production Company 79. Panther (1995/I) ... Production Company20. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) ... Production Company 80. Land and Freedom (1995) ... Production Company21. Atonement (2007) ... Production Company (developed with the support of) (as Working Title)22. Mr. Beans Holiday (2007) ... Production Company 81. That Eye, the Sky (1994) ... Production Company23. Gone (2007/III) ... Production Company 82. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) ... Production Company24. Hot Fuzz (2007) ... Production Company 83. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) ... Production25. "The Tudors" (2007) ... Production Company Company26. Smokin Aces (2006) ... Production Company (producer) 84. "The Return of the Borrowers" (1993) ... Production27. Sixty Six (2006) ... Production Company Company28. Catch a Fire (2006) ... Production Company 85. The Young Americans (1993) ... Production Company29. United 93: The Families and the Film (2006) (V) ... 86. Romeo Is Bleeding (1993) ... Production Company Production Company 87. Posse (1993) ... Production Company30. United 93 (2006) ... Production Company 88. "Tales of the City" (1993) ... Production Company31. Nanny McPhee (2005) ... Production Company 89. Map of the Human Heart (1993) ... Production Company32. Pride & Prejudice (2005) ... Production Company (as 90. Bob Roberts (1992) ... Production Company Working Title) 91. Dakota Road (1992) ... Production Company33. The Interpreter (2005) ... Production Company 92. "The Comic Strip Presents...: Red Nose of Courage (#6.1)"34. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) ... Production (1992) ... Production Company Company 93. London Kills Me (1991) ... Production Company35. The Answer (2004) ... Production Company 94. Edward II (1991) ... Production Company36. Inside Im Dancing (2004) ... Production Company 95. Barton Fink (1991) ... Production Company37. Wimbledon (2004) ... Production Company 96. Smack and Thistle (1991) (TV) ... Production Company38. Mickybo and Me (2004) ... Production Company 97. Robin Hood (1991/I) (TV) ... Production Company (as A39. Thunderbirds (2004) ... Production Company (presents) Working Title Production)40. The Calcium Kid (2004) ... Production Company (presents) 98. Drop Dead Fred (1991) ... Production Company41. Shaun of the Dead (2004) ... Production Company 99. Rubin and Ed (1991) ... Production Company42. Double Bill (2003) (TV) ... Production Company 100. Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990) ... Production43. Love Actually (2003) ... Production Company (producer) Company (as Working Title) 101. Fools of Fortune (1990) ... Production Company44. Johnny English (2003) ... Production Company 102. Arcadia (1990) ... Production Company45. Ned Kelly (2003) ... Production Company 103. Diamond Skulls (1989) ... Production Company46. The Shape of Things (2003) ... Production Company 104. The Tall Guy (1989) ... Production Company47. Thirteen (2003) ... Production Company 105. Paperhouse (1988) ... Production Company48. My Little Eye (2002) ... Production Company 106. A World Apart (1988) ... Production Company49. The Guru (2002) ... Production Company 107. Echoes (1988) (TV) ... Production Company50. About a Boy (2002) ... Production Company 108. For Queen & Country (1988) ... Production Company51. Ali G Indahouse (2002) ... Production Company 109. Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) ... Production Company52. 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002) ... Production Company 110. Wish You Were Here (1987) ... Production Company53. Long Time Dead (2002) ... Production Company 111. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) ... Production Company54. The Man Who Wasnt There (2001) ... Production Company55. Captain Corellis Mandolin (2001) ... Production Company 112. The Man Who Shot Christmas (1984) ... Production Company56. Bridget Joness Diary (2001) ... Production Company (as Big Science Ltd.)57. The Man Who Cried (2000) ... Production Company58. Billy Elliot (2000) ... Production Company (presents)59. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) ... Production Company (as Working Title)60. High Fidelity (2000) ... Production Company 14
  15. 15. • Look over the list of films produced by Working Title. Try to make a shortlist of what you think would have been most popular (maybe they are those you have seen). What sort of films are they? What sort of films do Working Title seem to produce? Are there any consistencies?In November 1982, Channel 4 was launched. Its remit was to produce analternative to BBC and ITV (which produced mainstream programming). Itsoon had a reputation for screening a broad range of programmes,sometimes controversial, which covered a range of issues and varyingrepresentations. The film production wing was launched shortly after (namedChannel Four films, later renamed Film Four) which produced films in line withits TV remit: non-mainstream, ‘edgy’ and sometimes controversial filmmaking.The first film to be produced by Working Title was a co-production withChannel Four Films: My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) • What state was the British film industry in during the early 1980’s? • In what ways does this film represent this ‘alternative’ ethic put forward by Channel Four Films? Why would Working Title be interested in this? 15
  16. 16. Working Title built on the success of this film by producing other social realistfilms such as For Queen and Country (1988) which deals with race andidentity in the context of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Such successesbrought international recognition but the company remained a Britishindependent studio meaning that major financial investment was hard to comeby: a major investor was needed.In 1992, Working Title Films joined forces with PolyGram.POLYGRAMPolyGram Filmed Entertainment was a London-based Anglo-Dutch filmstudio, founded in 1979 as a European competitor to Hollywood, buteventually sold and merged with Universal Pictures in 1999.Among its most successful films were Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994),Fargo (1996), and What Dreams May Come (1998). From 1989 to 1997 theyco-produced with Warner Bros. the original Batman movie series directed byTim Burton & Joel Schumacher, and starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer andGeorge Clooney.The Dutch music company PolyGram (owned by Philips) created PFE in 1979to consolidate its existing film companies. It invested US$200 million with theintention of developing a European film studio that could produce anddistribute films internationally on a scale to match the major Hollywoodstudios.Following the style of its music business, the company produced films througha number of creatively semi-autonomous labels, such as Working Title Filmsin the UK and Propaganda Films and Interscope Communications in theUnited States – It also built up it own network of distribution companies.Film production within Polygram differed from traditional Hollywood studios, inthat power to make (green light) a film was not centralised in the hands of asmall number of executives, but instead was decided by negotiations betweenproducers, management and marketing. PFE President, Michael Kuhn,claimed that "movies sort of green lit themselves."The company was based in the United Kingdom, and invested heavily inBritish film making — some credit it with reviving the British film industry in the1990s. Despite a successful production history, Philips decided to sell PFE tothe beverage (liquor) conglomerate Seagram in 1999, who also ownedUniversal.This lead to financial security for Working Title, and the opportunity tocompete on a global scale. With this though came a change in direction forWorking Title. If a movie was to be a global hit, then its content had to beglobally appealing. 16
  17. 17. • Look over the marketing material for Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Love Actually (2003). What makes this film acceptable to audiences inside and outside of the UK? • What similarities can you identify?Look at Shaun of the Dead (2004). • How was this film funded? • What was its budget? • How much did it make? • Who distributed it? • Why do you think it was a success? • How does this fit into the idea of a ‘British’ film? 17

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