Four from the forties

Arliss, Crabtree, Knowles and Huntington

By Brian McFarlane

Four from the forties


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1054-1
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: September 2018
  • BIC Category: Film Studies, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Individual film directors, film-makers, Film history, theory & criticism, c 1940 to c 1949, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, The arts / Individual film directors, film-makers, The arts / Film theory & criticism
  • Series: British Film-Makers


The 'Gainsborough melodramas' were a mainstay of 1940s British cinema, and helped make the careers of such stars as Margaret Lockwood, James Mason and Stewart Granger. But what was unique about these films? And who were the directors behind them? This book presents four key filmmakers, each with his own talents and specialities. It traces their professional lives through the highs of the 1940s, when the popularity of Gainsborough films was at its peak, to the tougher decades that followed the genre's decline. Featuring expert analysis of such films as The Man in Grey (1943), Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) and The Upturned Glass (1947), alongside valuable historical context, the book constitutes the first extended examination of this group of directors. It combines critical acumen with readability, making it a valuable resource for students, lecturers and general readers alike.


'The 1940s is widely regarded as "the golden age of British cinema". In this fascinating book Brian McFarlane examines in detail the film careers of four of the lesser known and unfairly neglected directors whose body of work contributed to the decade's enduring reputation for excellence. It is a major contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the "golden age".'
Jeffrey Richards, Emeritus Professor of Cultural History, Lancaster University

'Four from the forties is essential reading for anyone who cares about the British cinema. Succinct and elegantly written, it offers a sympathetic but balanced and extremely perceptive account of four directors who have received next to no serious critical attention before, but are responsible for some of the most successful British films ever made. It was a pleasure to read. Brian McFarlane is to be congratulated on filling a massive hole in our understanding of a vital period in British cinema history.'
Charles Drazin, Queen Mary University of London, author of The Finest Years: British Cinema of the 1940s, In Search of The Third Man and Korda: Britain's Only Movie Mogul


1 Leslie Arliss
2 Arthur Crabtree
3 Bernard Knowles
4 Lawrence Huntington


Brian McFarlane is Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne and editor of the Encyclopedia of British film

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