All posts by Graham Williamson

Grey Gardens

What are the building blocks of a cult movie?  Uniqueness and a certain quotability both help, but also it needs the sense of a world to explore, an impression that every casual reference to an off-screen character or brief appearance might lead to a life

Back to God’s Country

A Technicolor frontier adventure set in the wilds of the Arctic, Back to God’s Country exists at the intersection of three of the most comfortingly dad-movie genres; the pre-revisionist Western, the wilderness survival story and the Jack London-patented faithful dog story.  Source author James Oliver

The Bad Sister

A minor film with a major claim to fame, Hobart Henley’s The Bad Sister was intended as a vehicle for Conrad Nagel and Sidney Fox, the latter of whom plays the disreputable sibling of the title.  Today its fame rests on two supporting cast members;

Couple in a Hole

Tom Geens’s Couple in a Hole begins with a gorgeous, slow shot of a forest at the height of summer, then it delivers its first jolt before the film is two minutes old.  Geens’s second film after 2009’s Menteur, Couple in a Hole is his first

The Sound Barrier

Despite being a hit on its 1952 release, The Sound Barrier is now one of the least-seen of David Lean’s films.  A shame, as it represents an artist in the middle of a fascinating transition.  Released just five years before The Bridge on the River

Ken Russell: The Great Passions

How many BBC arts documentaries of the 1960s do you think begin with the exhumation of a mummified corpse, lit by flickering torches and soundtracked by booming horror-movie music? Not many, I’ll wager, but then there weren’t many directors walking the corridors of Broadcasting House

Sheba, Baby

On the face of it, we shouldn’t need to watch blaxploitation any more.  As soon as Will Smith and Denzel Washington became viable Hollywood action movie stars, its USP of showing black actors in empowered, heroic roles was co-opted.  This, though, ignores the pleasures of

Shooting Stars (1928)

It’s not often that I’m prescriptive about the way you choose to watch a film, but if you do get the BFI’s new dual format edition of Anthony Asquith and A.V. Bramble’s pioneering British silent Shooting Stars, watch the extras first. The main bonus feature

Fixed Bayonets

Before he was a director, Samuel Fuller fought in World War II and worked as a tabloid journalist.  The former experience shaped his politics, the latter shaped his sensibility.  If Fuller’s films sometimes seem simplistic, their simplicity is at least born of sincerity.   He knows