Thanks to its popular perception the British cinema of the fifties can often seem like a hinterland. The decade previous produced a number of wartime classics, the most critically regarded works of David Lean (Brief Encounter, Blithe Spirit and the Dickens adaptations) and a wonderful string of masterpieces by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The decade following saw the British New Wave hit its stride with Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. It also gave us James Bond, the much-loved Beatles movies and a series of films infected with either the ‘Swinging’ attitude or a certain revolutionary flavour: Blowup, If…., Performance (completed in 1968, unreleased until 1970), and so on.
But what did 1950s British cinema give us...?