PRIVILEGE (Peter Watkins, 1967)

In Britain “in the near future” (say, 1984), phenomenally successful pop star Steven Shorter is increasingly appropriated by those interested in advancing their own causes by attaching themselves to the boy’s popularity. Initially, his sadomasochistic stage act, which involves his being tossed into a jail-like enclosure by stick-wielding cops, refers to his actual incarceration a […]

SEVEN DAYS TO NOON (John and Roy Boulting, 1950)

Professor John Willingdon is England’s chief scientist at its atomic research center. Now he has stolen a bomb, which he will detonate in a week’s time, obliterating the seat of Government, unless the prime minister officially ends British manufacture of all such weaponry. Scotland Yard, convinced he is insane, works to find and apprehend Willingdon. […]

THE FORGOTTEN FACES (Peter Watkins, 1961)

Peter Watkins’s short film The Forgotten Faces is a quasi-documentary reconstruction of street scenes from the failed 1956 uprising against Hungary’s Soviet-propped government. Streets of Canterbury in Kent doubled for The Kàlmàn Jozsef Street, which “lies in an industrial suburb [of Budapest] called Ujpest.”      Students started the revolt. Opening shot: the corpse of a 17-year-old […]

CULLODEN (Peter Watkins, 1964)

Peter Watkins was not yet thirty when he revolutionized the genre of historical documentary, thus becoming one of the most influential serious filmmakers, with Culloden, whose form expands the creative and expressive possibilities of the genre, for example, by its interviews/testimonies of participants in the 1746 battle at Culloden between rag-tag Highland Scots, French-supported Jacobites […]