Tag Archives: kiss me deadly

Hell Is A City

2 Jan

HellIsaCity1960The recent, sad death of the great Billie Whitelaw prompted me to divert from the nuclear norm and reflect on a film in which she played a small – but significant – part. Hell Is A City is a frequently overlooked gem of post-war British cinema. An unabashedly commercial crime movie that, nonetheless, contains much to recommend it. It also happens to be one of my favourite pieces of post-war British cinema.

Hell Is A City very much follows the traditional pattern for its type: hardened criminal commits robbery and accidental murder, hard-bitten cop with a terrible home life is determined to track him down, cop trawls through the seedier elements of society to get his man. Yet, there are several things which make the film something apart from the norm.

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Silver Screen Cold War

12 Nov

This list of ‘Ten Cold War Films Worth Watching‘ by James Lindsay at the Council on Foreign Relations infuriated me (OK, maybe not infuriated. ‘Mildly irritated’, perhaps). Not because the films aren’t worth watching (indeed, many of them are solid gold classics that you should certainly view) but that the list was so English-language, US-UK focused in its content. But then again, the same blog brought us ‘The Cold War in 40 Quotes‘. 36 of which were by American figures, representing (as does the film list) the highly US-centric view of the Council on Foreign Relations.

I would still encourage people to watch the films on Lindsay’s list, but I think we can look more widely at Cold War cinema in order to gauge how the experience affected film-makers from a much broader spectrum, in terms of nationality, genre, and perspective. Hence, I present my list of ten Cold War films worth watching. I will admit, the list is still horribly Euro-centric and very personal.

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