The 19705 A lack Of Direction Economic insecurity, unemployment and deteriorating industrial relations. The miner's strike in 1974. "the winter of discontent" contributed to the defeat of the Conservative government. Increase in north south economic divide Increase in divide between "the haves" and "the have nots" in general. Some evidence of social mobility but class conflict still existed- most powerful positions being held by the upper classes and the lot of the sick and unemployed remaining stagnant. Race serious & divisive issue. The National Front attacked ethnic minorities, numbers swelled as they played on insecurities increased by unemployment and immigration. The "troubles" in Northern Ireland increased - IRA beginning militant activities in Britain. Increasing popularity/militancy of the women's movement increased male anxiety about women's changing role in the workplace and in society. This in turn increased concern about the erosion of tradition family values. In 1979 Maggie Thatcher was elected as the 1st British woman Prime Minister. British Cinema Period of decline for GB film industry, but developments began to enable success of 1980s. Increasing awareness in US and UK of sophisticated marketing and distribution. Group of GB young film makers had begun their careers in advertising (David Puttnam, Hugh Hudson, Ridley Scott, Adrian Lyne) - aware film was a product that had to be sold to its target audience. Until here British producers spent at most 10'0 of budget on marketing "Midnight Express" (Alan Parker 1978) 1st film to spend more on screen prints and advertising than on the production of the film and success at the box office justified the investment. The approach however was not picked up by the GB film industry.
Industry & Audiences Dominated by financial insecurity, uncertain artistic direction and a lack of confidence in the marketability of the films produced. Highlighted problems that have existed in the GB industry and persist into the 1990s • how films are exhibited in GB • the structure of the industry itself • how to raise money to produce films • and relationships with Hollywood. British Studios In 1960s popularity of GB films, quality and availability of British studios and relatively cheap labour had meant significant US finance had been invested in GB film production. 1967 most of production finance in GB was US. By 1974 sum invested had fallen to £2.9million. Major studios were suffering losses on big budget films and foreign investment was discouraged by GB domestic problems. Period of economic and artistic growth of 1960s over and film producers of 1970s had no reliable sources of finance. National Film Finance company's resources diminished - between 1973 and 1981 it contributed only £4 million towards 31 feature films and 6 shorts. In an attempt to break into US market the major GB film companies (EMI, Lord Grade's Associated Communications Corporation and the Rank Organisation) produced a series of unsuccessful blockbusters, the most famous being "Raise The Titanic!" (Jameson 1980) - a box office flop that cost $35 million. Total number of feature films produced in GB fell from 98 in 1971 to 36 by 1981. Television becoming increasingly popular and cinema admissions dropped; cinema going no longer mass entertainment of the GB public. Film makers looked for new formulae to counteract competition from TV enabling them to attract new, young cinema audiences.
Admission prices no longer cheap and cinema goers became more selective. Double bills, shorts and supporting features were removed and the single feature with advertising was shown in separate performances to replace the continuous show. Children's Saturday shows less popular due to TV's appeal and disappeared by end of 1970s. British studios that remained in 1970s - Pinewood, Elstree, Shepperton and Twickenham - mostly used for big US productions such as "Star Wars" (Lucas 1977) and "Superman" (Donner 1978). The studios had changed in essence from producers of recognisable film genres to factories which attracted film makers to their facilities. Growing use of special effects led to establishment of a facilities industry, with model makers, optical effects specialists and computer based services located in London, Elstree and Pinewood. 1968 Stanley Kubrick "2001: A Space Odyssey" in GB. As a result of the special effects team's work and work on the Bond movies British technicians developed an international reputation for their skills with physical and mechanical effects. Lucas and Kurtz decided to use many of the 2001 team on "Star Wars" at Elstree and they returned to make more. The GB government did nothing to encourage or invest in this pool of highly skilled talent and some of Britain's best technicians left to work for more receptive and lucrative Hollywood. Audiences & Exhibition By end of 1960s cinema buildings too large for audiences attending - not economic to maintain them and dispiriting for audiences to be dotted around a large auditorium. 1 solution - split buildings in half. Upstairs cinema, downstairs dance or bingo hall. Most profitable chains Odeon and ABC converted into 3 screen film centres with new equipment - screening a film required only 1 projector that could almost run itself.
ABC favoured closing sites for several months to create 2 new cinemas in former stalls and 1 in circle each with new screens and curtains. Attempted to relaunch film centres as new creations. Odeon preferred to spend less money with "drop wall" conversions - the space beneath a balcony closed off and divided down the middle to create 2 mini cinemas while circle functioned as largest. Used the existing screen and stayed open for most or all of conversion to maintain some income and keep cinema going habit alive. Greater choice for 1970s audiences as many towns had competing ABC and Odeon cinemas each with 3 screens. Successful films like Russell's "Women In Love" (1969) given standard 2 week run in 3 screen cinemas were given a longer run on smaller screens encouraging a wider audience. "Jaws" (Spielberg 1975) one of 1st US blockbusters played at some local cinemas for up to 6 months. "Women In Love" features nude male wrestling and the censors blurred the sequence. In 1970 X certificate changed restricting films to audiences aged 18 and over and at the same time a new AA category was introduced barring children under 14. In spite of the conversions and the success of "Star Wars" causing a sharp rise in attendances audience figures continued to decline, more cinemas closed, even conversions and press and display advertising were cut back. Annual admissions continued to drop from 501 million in 1960 to 193 million in 1970. Number of cinemas fell from 3,034 to 1,529 and by 1984 annual attendances were down to 58 million with Odeon only having 75 cinemas with 194 screens and ABC (now part of Thorn EMI conglomerate) having 107 sites and 287 screens. Hammer Studios Horror was still a significant genre and Hammer continued to be successful well into the mid 70s. Bankrupt eventually in 1980. See Hammer Productions Case Study.
Independent Film Makers 1966 London Film-makers' Co-operative founded and with it beginnings of modern independent film production movement. 10 years later Independent Film-makers Association defined independence as -an avoidance of the constraints which big private capital was believed to impose, a rejection of the aim of making unchallenging films to attract large audiences immediately, and a commitment to the preservation and development of critical thought. Interest in film in Art Colleges produced group of film makers who objected to the format of Hollywood dominated industry and its British versions. Influenced by alternative traditions which criticised practices and products of mainstream industry and set up production facilities to make sure they could control the production processes. Number of other radical film production collectives were set up in 60s and 70s, including: Cinema Action (London1968; films for Labour movement on housing, industrial relations, strikes and occupations against factory closures and redundancies, the Republican movement in Ireland, the miner's strikes of 72 and 74) Amber Films (Newcastle 1969; films looking at lives of working people in north east) London Women's Film group (London 1972; films on involvement of women in 1926 and 1974miners' strikes and 1970s campaigns for equal pay and abortion rights) Some received state subsidy, others made cheaply by unemployed or part time film industry workers subsidising their own work. Independent film production, government intervention and the major studios still contribute to the picture of the British film industry in the 1990s.
Issues & Identity Film Styles, Themes & Genres Getting the audience back Did produce some interesting films different genres and formulae tried to win back audiences. Scott, Puttnam, Parker and Hudson all making films in 1970s that contributed to GB cinema revival in the 1980s Ridley Scott "The Duellists" (1977) and "Alien" (1979) Alan Parker won 2 Oscars for "Midnight Express" (1978) Hudosn's "Chariots of Fire" (1981) earned over $30million in US GB directors increasingly attracted to Hollywood where financial situation better. Nicholas Roeg "Peformance" released 1971 (made 1969) - combined swinging 60s, pop stars (Jagger)_and psychedelia with brutality of London gangland. Enormous impact and violent responses! Test screening in US audience protest so loud film had to be stopped. Rumours about film's making - actor relationships, impact on those making and starring in it, improvisation techniques and blurring of distinctions between reality and representation, still persist today. James Fox abandoned acting for a Christian vocation and didn't see film for another 8 years. Sex and violence presented in ways on screen unknown before in mainstream cinema. Thriller/Horror Roeg "Don't Look Now" (1973) UK and Italian production quality horror. Top box office film of 1973. Sci Fi Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) a cross genre sci fi/fantasy/futuristic film - accused of glamorising gang rape and thuggery he withdrew it from GB distribution after succession of alleged copycat violent incidents. Scott's "Alien" (1979) sci fi horror - a box office success contributing to horror/sci fi revival of 1980s.
Comedy Carry On series begun in 1950s continued during 70s - 1 film a year until failure of "Carry On Emmanuelle" (Thomas 1978). "Naughtiness2 looked dated in permissive 70s. Films enjoyed a TV revival and cult following in 1990s. Big budget star oriented comedy also feature of 70s - "The Pink Panther" (Edwards 1963) Peter Sellers persuaded to appear in 3 more - targeted at international market and did well at box office. Repeating Formula TV comedies to entice TV audiences back into cinemas. TV characters in 1hr 30min features when audience used to 30 min segments didn't work, small scale situation comedy didn't work on big screen. Initially audiences returned "On The Buses" (Booth 1971) highest grossing film that year, "Steptoe & Son" (Owen 1972) did well at box office but successor didn't. Monty Python films also did well appealing to youth market. Regional Humour Forsyth "That Sinking Feeling" (1979) low budget, untried actors. More in depth perception of regionalism than before (thugs or eccentrics) similar vein to Loach and Davies. Regionalism also explored in crime thriller genre with "Get Carter" (Hodges 1971). Re-released in 1990s. Pop Culture Rock/pop/punk influenced musicals "That'1I Be The Day" (Whatham 1973) and "Stardust" (Apted 1974) with David Essex, "Tommy" (RusseIl1975) with Elton John and The Who, while "Jubilee" (Jarman 1978), "Rude Boy" (Hazan/Mingay 1980) and Temple's 1979 "The Great Rock and Roll Swindle" were all helped along by punk. Russell's "Mahler" (1974) and "Lisztomania" (1975) to challenge conservative attitudes to classical music. "Bugsy Malone" (Parker 1976) kids gangster/satire epic. The GB Male - J ames Bond "Diamonds Are Forever" (Hamilton 1971) "Live and Let Die" (Hamilton 1973) "The Spy Who Loved Me" (Gilbert 1977)
Hero of great cultural significance saving free world reflecting values of free world especially England. Worked for an elite maintaining world power status quo -GB and allies domination - clearly defined good and evil. Role of women seen as backlash to feminism - found anti hero status appealing as he represented a new generation of talent based classless untraditional anti establishment elite. Historical Costume Drama Russell's "The Music Lovers" (1970) Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" (1975) Richardson's "Joseph Andrews" (1976) Ambitious themes and lavish sets.