Sexy Beast British bad guys

The Hard Men: British Bad Guys

British actors have long been sought after by American filmmakers. They like to cast them as villains, or as upperclass, witless saps. They are often used as Nazis, and have provided the James Bond franchise with some of its more memorable arch-enemies. Maybe it’s the accent, perhaps it’s the old animosity from the 1770s, but…

By Pete Johnson
Time Bandits

Little People with Large Talent: Cinema’s Under-Appreciated Performers

Little people, sometimes known as dwarfs and once derogatively referred to as ‘midgets’, did not always get a fair deal from the cinema industry. Generally portrayed as figures of fun, or cast as clowns, and sometimes relegated to sitting inside small machines to play robots, or strange alien creatures, their lot was not a happy…

By Pete Johnson
War - All Quiet On the Western Front

Lest We Forget: The Great War and Cinema

This August sees the centenary of the First World War. This tragic conflict destroyed nations, took millions of lives, and changed the map of the world. Many films have been made about this war, and this seems a suitable time to examine some of them. I normally seek out lesser-known films for my posts; but…

By Pete Johnson
british new wave loneliness of the long distance runner

The British New Wave: 5 Movies About Gritty Brits

Before 1960, most films about the British working people showed them in a patronising, if affectionate way. They always worked hard, paid their bills, and endured hardship with a grin. Apron-wearing matriarchs hen-pecked their husbands, and terrified prospective sons-in-law. Men returned from work to enjoy a wash in the sink, followed by a frugal meal.…

By Pete Johnson
German cinema

Das Kino Deutschlands: An appreciation of German Cinema

I do not intend to cover the history of the cinematic output of Germany; that would take a book, and many already exist. However, I have noticed German films mentioned on CURNBLOG occasionally, and I would like to offer some for consideration, and hopefully introduce them to new viewers. Before the Second World War, many…

By Pete Johnson
top ten list

Top Ten Films: A Mission Impossible

Many film blogs and websites are keen on ‘Top Lists’. They will ask readers to name their ten best, twenty best, even fifty best. This, of course, provokes a lot of debate and discussion, and hopefully increases traffic to their site. On rare occasions, these lists will reveal a Pandora’s Box of diversity. They will…

By Pete Johnson
When the Wind Blows the bomb

The Big Bang: Cinema and The Bomb

Ever since the first use of atomic weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the idea of the effects of a nuclear war and its post-apocalyptic aftermath has been the subject of numerous film treatments. From giants ants, mutated by radiation fallout in the deserts of the American south-west in Them!…

By Pete Johnson