Some films are remembered long after they are released; others are soon forgotten, but do they deserve oblivion? Are factors other than quality involved? This book exhumes some of the films released in Britain over the last seventy years from Daybreak (1948) to 16 Years of Alcohol (2003), and considers the reasons for their neglect. As well as exploring the contributions of those involved in making the films, the book examines such issues as marketing and the response of critics and audiences. Films are grouped loosely into categories such as “B” films and television films. Some works were little seen when they were first released and have stayed that way; others were popular in their day, but have slipped into obscurity. In some cases, social change has overtaken them, making the attitudes or subjects they depict seem dated. Even being released as a DVD does not guarantee that a title will be rehabilitated. In addition, how significant is the American market?This book should appeal to lovers of British film, as well as to film studies students and everybody curious about the vagaries of success and failure in the arts.
Philip Gillett is an independent researcher on film and author of The British Working Class in Postwar Film (2003). His most recent book, Film and Morality, was published in 2012, and he is a contributor to the online journal Offscreen.