David Bradley stars in the 1969 drama by Ken Loach

‘Kes’ – a boy and his kestrel on Amazon Prime

The story of a boy and his bird, Kes (1969) is something of a small cinematic treasure in Britain. Set and shot in the North of England and cast overwhelming with non-professional locals from the area, it cast its lens on the dreary life and hopeless future of a scrawny, fatherless teenager, Billy Casper (David […]

Gary Sherman directs the landmark British horror film with Donald Pleasance

‘Death Line’ – cannibals in the underground on Criterion Channel and Shudder

Gary Sherman directs Death Line (aka Raw Meat) (1972), an underrated (and for years largely unseen) British horror film about the last survivor of a literal underground clan (trapped in a subway construction cave in a century before) who emerges from his cave to hunt for food on the London Underground. Yes, it’s a cannibal […]

‘Peeping Tom’ – Michael Powell’s subversive masterpiece on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell lays bare the cinema’s dark voyeuristic underside in his disturbing psychodrama Peeping Tom (1960). Handsome young Karlheinz Böhm (billed as Carl Boehm) is Mark Lewis, a shy, socially clumsy young man shaped by the psychic scars of an emotionally abusive parent, in this case a psychologist father (Michael Powell in a perverse cameo) […]

Jack Hawkins stars in the British caper film with military order from Basil Dearden

‘The League of Gentlemen’ – a very British heist on The Criterion Channel

Basil Dearden’s The League of Gentlemen (1960) is a sturdy and meticulous heist film built on an appreciation of teamwork, camaraderie and hard work: a professional work about professionals working. That’s the foundation of many a classic heist or men-on-a-mission thriller and this film offers it as a kind of skewed redemption for a misfit […]

Malcolm McDowell stars in the film by Lindsay Anderson

‘If…’ – Malcolm McDowell rebels on Amazon Prime

Lindsay Anderson captured the fancy of a generation of British youth with If… (1968), his savage satire of the regimented British education system and bullying “public” schools. In 1968 the time and tenor was ripe for a rebel yell, but while the picture stands a rallying cry for a generation, its celebration of individualism and […]