Friday, 10 February 2012

The Legions of the Lost: Michael Klinger and the role of the film producer in the British film industry 1960-1980

Framegrab from Repulsion (directed by Roman Polanski and executive produced by Michael Klinger [uncredited], 1965)
During the 1970s, a period of economic decline, admissions to cinemas were down, there was a lack of public investment in the film industry and the Hollywood studios had pulled out of investing in British films. Despite this, Michael Klinger made 13 successful films [including ] Polanski's Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-Sac (1966)] - he was the only consistently profitable indigenous producer in this decade - yet very little critical acclaim has been given to him. Film studies tends to focus on the director as having the main creative role, yet in the case of Michael Klinger, he was involved in all aspects of film-making, including casting, the writing of the screenplay and editing. [Andrew Spicer
Although Michael Klinger was the most successful independent producer in the 1970s, he has become one of the legions of the lost in British cinema. This occlusion, is symptomatic of the neglect of the producer's role within British cinema studies (and within Film Studies in general [...]), which, in Alexander Walker's deft formulation, 'has to be resisted if films are to make sense as an industry that can sometimes create art' [Walker, Alexander, Hollywood, England: The British Film Industry in the Sixties, London: Harrap, 1986 [1974]] p. 17). [Andrew Spicer, 'The Creative Producer – The Michael Klinger Papers', Paper Given at the University of Stirling Conference, Archives and Auteurs - Filmmakers and their Archives, 2 - 4 September 2009].

Film Studies For Free rushes you news of the announcement that the website for the research project on Michael Klinger and the role of the film producer in the British film industry 1960-1980 is now live. It contains a comprehensive catalogue of the Klinger papers housed at the University of the West of England as well as details about the project, images, selected documents, interviews, events and some excellent, openly accessible publications.

You can read a great overview of Klinger's life and career here and an informative press release about the initial research project may be found here.

Andrew Spicer, Reader in Cultural History at UWE and the project's Principal Investigator, and research associate Anthony McKenna would be very pleased to receive any feedback about the site and suggestions as to how it might be developed. They hope it will prove useful and informative and be the spur to other studies of producers. 

FSFF is absolutely certain that this project will be generative of further valuable work on film producers and it hopes its readers will join it in congratulating Spicer and McKenna on such a successful and, just as importantly, successfully shared project.

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