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The Cinema of Basil Dearden and Michael Relph

Alan Burton, Tim O'Sullivan

Hardback (Printed to Order)

This book offers the first full systematic assessment and evaluation of the cinema of this important filmmaking partnership. Dearden and Relph came together at the famous Ealing Studios in the wartime period and became the most prolific production team at the studio, contributing such popular and critically acclaimed films as The Captive Heart (1946), The Blue Lamp (1950) and Pool of London (1951). Later in the 1950s, Dearden and Relph branched out into independent production and became particularly associated with a cycle of controversial social problem films that included Sapphire (1959) and Victim (1961). This new study takes an extensive view of the cinema of Basil Dearden and Michael Relph. It considers in detail their contribution to the celebrated achievements of wartime cinema at Ealing, brings a new focus to their post-war films that addressed masculine adjustment in a period of rapid change, takes a fresh look at the prominent group of social problem films within their work, and offers an original study of their later period of filmmaking for the international market in the 1960s. Attention is also given to the significant place of comedy in their cinema and Michael Relph's considerable achievements as an art director. The book will be of interest to all students of film history and a general readership that takes a keen interest in British cinema.


Foreword: James Dearden
Foreword: Simon Relph
Biographical Notes: Basil Dearden
Biographical Notes: Michael Relph
Introduction: 'Two on a Tandem'? Dearden and Relph: Authorship and British Cinema
Chapter 1: Apprenticeship and Beyond: Comedy Traditions and Film Design
Chapter 2: The Formative Period: The War years and the Ethos of Ealing
Chapter 3: Dramas of Masculine Adjustment I: Tragic Melodramas
Chapter 4: Dramas of Masculine Adjustment II: Men in Action
Chapter 5: Dramas of Social Adjustment
Chapter 6: Ethical Dilemmas
Chapter 7: The International Years
Appendix: 'Inside Ealing': Michael Relph

About the Author

Dr Alan Burton is Senior Lecturer in Film at Hull University.

Professor Tim O'Sullivan is Head of the Department of Media, Film & Journalism in the Faculty of Humanities at De Montfort University, Leicester.


A valued piece of work which will benefit scholars, students and cineastes alike.
- Sally Dux, University of Leicester, Journal of British Cinema and Television