British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Free Cinema (DVD)

Synopsis
A compilation, on three discs, of 16 documentary films about British working-class life produced by the ‘Free Cinema’ movement. This highly influential but critically neglected movement in British cinema history not only re-invented British documentary in the 1950s but also served as a precursor for the better known British New Wave of social-realist feature films in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Born in February 1956, when a group led by critic and filmmaker Lindsay Anderson, screened their short films at the National Film Theatre, Free Cinema proved so popular that five more programmes followed until 1959, This collection includes a number of fascinating shorts made on a shoestring budget and 16mm Bolex camera by first-time directors such as Karl Reisz and Tony Richardson.

Films included are: O DREAMLAND (dir. Lindsay Anderson, UK, 1953, 12 mins); MOMMA DON’T ALLOW ( dir. Karel Reisz/Tony Richardson, UK, 1956, 22 mins); TOGETHER (dir. Lorenza Mazzetti, UK, 1956, 52 mins); WAKEFIELD EXPRESS (dir. Lindsay Anderson, UK, 1952, 30 mins); NICE TIME (dir. Alain Tanner/Claude Goretta, UK, 1957, 17 mins); THE SINGING STREET (dir. Norton Park Group/Nigel McIsaac, UK, 1952, 18 mins); EVERY DAY EXCEPT CHRISTMAS (dir. Lindsay Anderson, UK, 1957, 40 mins); REFUGE ENGLAND (dir. Robert Vas, UK, 1959, 27 mins); ENGINEMEN (dir. Michael Grigsby, UK, 1959, 21mins); WE ARE THE LAMBETH BOYS (dir. Karel Reisz, UK, 1959, 52 mins); FOOD FOR A BLUSH (dir. Elizabeth Russell, UK, 1959, 30 mins); ONE POTATO TWO POTATO (dir. Leslie Daiken, UK, 1957, 21 mins); MARCH TO ALDERMASTON (anonymous, UK, 1959, 33 mins); THE VANISHING STREET (dir. Robert Vas, UK, 1962, 18 mins); TOMORROW’S SATURDAY (dir. Michael Grigsby, UK, 1962, 18 mins); GALA DAY (dir. John Irvin, UK, 1963, 26 mins).

161 minutes of DVD extras include SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL - interviews with Free Cinema filmmakers; film extracts and unseen photographs; 5 rarely seen short films from the late 1950s/early 1960s, made in the spirit of the Free Cinema movement; a 40-page booklet containing the original manifestoes, notes on each of the 16 films, further reading and web links.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
2006
Year of production
1957-1962
Notes
A VHS of the same title is a compilation of EVERY DAY EXCEPT CHRISTMAS, WE ARE THE LAMBETH BOYS and THE SATURDAY MEN (ref CAV 008)
Subjects
Social Studies; History; Media studies
Keywords
documentary films; Free Cinema; social history; working classes

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 2 PAL
Price
£29.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
314 +161 minutes
Year
2012

Sections

Title
O Dreamland
Synopsis
Made in 1953
Duration
12 mins

Title
Momma don’t allow
Synopsis
Made in 1956
Duration
22 mins

Title
Together
Synopsis
Made in 1956
Duration
52 mins

Title
Wakefield Express
Synopsis
Made in 1952
Duration
30 mins

Title
Nice Time
Synopsis
Made in 1957
Duration
17 mins

Title
Singing Street, The
Synopsis
Made in 1952
Duration
18 mins

Title
Every Day except Christmas
Synopsis
Made in 1957. A personal view of Covent Garden market from midnight to mid-day, Director Lindsay Anderson’s describes the film as ‘a lyrical documentary’ - an attempt to bring poetry and humanity back into documentary film-making, and to break with the technical-informational-travelogue tradition that had made documentary synonymous with dullness and conformity.
Duration
40 mins

Title
Refuge England
Synopsis
Made in 1959
Duration
27 mins

Title
Enginemen
Synopsis
Made in 1959
Duration
21 mins

Title
We are the Lambeth Boys
Synopsis
Made in 1959. A portrait of members of a South London youth club, at home, at work and at the club itself.
Duration
52 mins

Title
Food for a Blush
Synopsis
Made in 1959
Duration
30 mins

Title
One Potato two Potato
Synopsis
Made in 1957
Duration
21 mins

Title
March to Aldermaston
Synopsis
Made in 1959
Duration
33 mins

Title
Vanishing Street, The
Synopsis
Made in 1962
Duration
18 mins

Title
Tomorrow’s Saturday
Synopsis
Made in 1962
Duration
18 mins

Title
Gala Day
Synopsis
Made in 1963
Duration
26 mins

Title
Small is Beautiful: the story of the Free Cinema films told by their makers
Synopsis
Specially commissioned interviews with Free Cinema filmmakers Lorwnza Mazzetti, Walter Lassally, Alain Tanner, and Michael Grigsby, film extracts and rare photographs.
Duration
43 mins

Distributor

Name

BFI Video

Email
video.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7957 8957
Fax
020 7957 8968
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
 

Available from retail outlets

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 524 times.