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British exploitation

Related: British cinema - British erotica - exploitation - exploitation film - European exploitation film - Gothic novel - penny dreadfuls - Piccadilly - sensation novel

Film production: Amicus - Hammer - Tigon

People: Antony Balch - Edmund Curll - Terence Fisher - Henry Hayler - Alfred Hitchcock - Stanley Long - Barbara Steele - Harry Alan Towers - Peter Walker

High end: Peeping Tom (1960) - Psycho (1960)

Low end: Groupie Girl (1970) - The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) - Venom (1971) - Zeta One (1969)

Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968) - Gerald Thomas

British exploitation cinema

This article focuses on three British directors: Lindsay Shonteff, Pete Walker, and Stanley Long.

Even as a Brit, when I think of exploitation cinema, I tend to think of Roger Corman, Russ Meyer, Mom and Dad, Ed Wood, Radley Metzger, and Chesty Morgan before I remember anything produced in my own country. I think of David Friedman, Al Adamson, I Spit on Your Grave, and Candy Stripe Nurses rather than the homegrown trash that circulated through the British fleapits and then briefly invaded hundreds of thousands of households in the first years of home video. I even think of European exploitation, of Jesse Franco, Jose Larraz, and Lina Romay, before I recall the Poverty Row sleaze that was churned out of Wardour Street, London, on a regular basis until the end of the seventies. --Julian Upton via http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/33/britishexploitation1.html [May 2005]

British sex film
Pete Walker and Lindsay Shonteff are largely representative of a number of producers and directors whose careers traversed the burgeoning sex film industry in the late '60s and attempted to branch into other genres, but Long remained pragmatically committed to the initially lucrative British sex film (although he certainly appeared to have no emotional fondness for it). His work is particularly representative of the tepid smut that passed for British soft porn in the 1970s. --Julian Upton via http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/33/britishexploitation1.html [May 2005]

Sadly, Stanley Long is highly representative of why the British sex film was such a dire, gobsmackingly dull experience. He was personally dismissive of pornography, saying it didn't turn him on, and seemed generally uninterested in sex and nudity per se. This peculiarly British attitude to sex clearly permeated the genre. When director Joe McGrath, once famous for TV work with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, was, in his eyes, "reduced" to making adult comedies, he was known to direct sex scenes with his back to the set, appalled at having to earn his living from such a sleazy activity. This may have seemed a morally justifiable position for him to take, but it didn't do a lot for the films. And almost without exception, every British sex film of the heyday of exploitation is a dreary, embarrassing experience, thanks both to "artistic" attitudes such as this, and the British censors’ penchant for chopping out anything remotely dirty anyway. Still, at least their titles of Long’s films were occasionally inventive — Can You Keep It Up for a Week (1974), Keep It Up Downstairs (1976), I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight (1975), Let's Get Laid (1977).

see also: Peter Walker - sex film

Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon (December 21 1925 - ) is a British-born producer and financier of horror films. He moved to New York in the 1940s and set up his own company Gordon Films distributing imported films in the US. He produced two vehicles for Boris Karloff, and later worked with Antony Balch on two exploitation films. His final two films to date are Radley Metzger's The Cat and the Canary (1979) and Inseminoid (1981). --[1]

Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema (2001) - Simon Sheridan

In search of British exploitation.

Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema (2001) - Simon Sheridan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The British tradition of 'saucy postcard' humour - boobs, bums and boorish innuendo - is perhaps best exemplified by the long running Carry On movies. But as anyone who watches late-night television will tell you, there is also a forgotten cinema of saucier 'X certificate' movies. The people who would most like to forget these films are, of course, some of the better known actors who appeared in them - Leslie Ash, Joan Collins, Pauline Collins, Gabrielle Drake, Elaine Paige and Valerie Singleton all have credits that they probably leave off their CVs, while Robin Askwith, Fiona Richmond and the late Mary Millington all capitalised on their appearances in films that pushed the censors to their limits. Simon Sheridan traces the history of the British sex film from its beginnings in such coy nudist camp films as Some Like It Cool (directed by Michael Winner in 1960), through to its boom years with the Confessions films and their many imitators, to its demise following censorship clampdowns and the introduction of home video in the early 1980s. Sheridan compiles a definitive filmography for the very first time, and coaxes the facts from previously reclusive and reluctant interviewees. The result is the often funny, sometimes tragic, but undeniably revealing story of a forgotten genre.

Doing Rude Things: History of the British Sex Film (1992) - David McGillivray

In search of British exploitation.

Doing Rude Things: History of the British Sex Film (1992) - David McGillivray [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Carry On films

The Carry On films were a long-running series of British popular low-budget comedy films, directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rodgers. An energetic mix of parody, farce and double entendres, they are seen as a classic examples of British humour. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carry_On_films [May 2005]

see also: double entendre - farce - parody - sex comedy

British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexploitation (1998) - Leon Hunt

  • British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexploitation (1998) - Leon Hunt [Amazon.com]
    Flares, lava lamps, safari suits and a national cinema dominated by smutty comedy and cheap softcore have all made 1970s British popular culture appear too gruesome to recycle as nostalgia and too offensive for academic study. But the generic artifacts of the 1970s have become important reference points in contemporary popular culture.

    British Low Culture revisits the 1970s through some of its least respectable films and television programs, from Benny Hill to Confessions of a Windowcleaner. Identifying the trickle down of permissiveness into mass consumption as a key feature of the 1970s, Leon Hunt considers the values of an ostensibly "bad" decade and analyzes its implications for issues of taste and cultural capital. Offering insights into the complexities of popular culture and popular memory, British Low Culture fills an important gap in the study of British cultural history.

    The Complete Richard Allen, Vol. 1 (1992) - Richard Allen

    The Complete Richard Allen, Vol. 1 (1992) - Richard Allen
    [FR] [DE] [UK]

    James Moffat, who wrote under the pen name Richard Allen, produced several pulp novels for the UK publishing house New English Library during the 1970s.

    Many of his stories featured the often violent and sensationalist exploits of a fictional skinhead character, Joe Hawkins. Allen's skinhead-related works include: Skinhead, Skinhead Escapes, Trouble for skinhead, Skinhead Farewell and Dragon Skins (about Kung Fu-fighting skinheads). He also wrote a number of other titles aimed at exploiting various youth subcultures, including Punk Rock, Teeny Bop Idol, Suedehead (a longer-haired offshoot of skinheads) , Smoothies (an even longer-haired offshoot of skinheads), Sorts (female versions of Smoothies), and Glam. The collected works of Richard Allen have been reissued in a six volume set by ST Publishing.

    A BBC TV documentary about his life, "Skinhead Farewell", aired in 1996. Allen's formulaic and sensationalist writing style has been frequently mimicked by Neoist writer Stewart Home. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Moffat [Oct 2006]

    See also: British literature

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