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New Releases: A Dozen Summers

Between the early 1950s and 1980s, a film company called The Children’s Film Foundation captured what being a child was all about. Their short films – usually running at under an hour – were aimed at younger audiences, primarily featuring children in the main roles with adults reduced to mere support. The resultant films provided […]

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Screengems: The Staircase from The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz & William Keighley, 1938)

During the late 1930’s, no period Hollywood adventure was complete without Errol Flynn or Basil Rathbone. These two men epitomised the archetypal male from the golden age of the silver screen – rakish, suave, and debonair. The swashbuckling extravaganzas in which they starred reached their zenith with the technicolour fantasy The Adventures of Robin Hood, […]

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Screengems: The Candlestick Cross from Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958)

Hammer Films’ second foray into the world of gothic horror, Dracula, changed the fortunes of both the studio and the film’s two stars forever, making each in their own way indelibly linked with the sinister Count and his tenacious nemesis. Until the late 1950’s Hammer had remained a low key studio producing small budget potboilers […]

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Screengems: The shower from Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Picture this: it’s been a long day and you’ve been driving since early morning.  Suddenly, just off the highway, you notice a motel and decide to stop for the night.  After booking in and passing the time of day with the young owner (he seems a little odd but, as he’s alone, it would be […]

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Screengems: Chitty from Chitty Bang Bang (Ken Hughes, 1968)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (or Chitty as she was affectionately referred to) was quite simply the most ‘fantasmagorical’ vehicle ever seen on the silver screen.  Though the film’s cast and locations were equally crazy it was the eponymous Edwardian racing car, from which the family favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) took its name, which […]

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Screengems: The Lament Configuration Box from Hellraiser (Clive Barker, 1987)

Like Pandora’s Box, the Lament Configuration Box had the power to unleash Hell on Earth.  Unlike that particular casket of secrets however, this one held little hope at the bottom for those unfortunate enough to open it. The box, which made its screen debut in Hellraiser (1987) and is to all intents a variation on […]

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Screengems: ‘The Book’ in The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006)

Forget put-upon, would-be journalist, Andy Sachs (infused with subtle innocence by Anne Hathaway), bitchy PA Emily Charlton (the wonderfully acidic Emily Blunt) or Priestly herself (a career defining turn from Hollywood icon Meryl Streep) – it was really ‘The Book’ which played the pivotal role in The Devil Wears Prada, director David Frankel’s acid sharp pastiche on the fickle […]

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The television set in Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982)

Malignant horror can most effectively be found through forums which are accessible to all, no matter who or where you are. So how better to transfer its influence than by means of such an innocent, yet so intrinsic, part of modern-day life – the humble television set. Over the years there have been countless cinematic representations of portals to […]

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The parrot headed umbrella in Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)

Mary Poppins, the mysterious nanny who blew in on an easterly wind changing forever the lives of the assorted inhabitants of Cherry Tree Lane, had only two requirements to work her magic – her caustic wit and a parrot headed umbrella. Her deceptively large carpet bag may have held fathomless possibilities for her young charges, […]