Calculated risks: film finances and British independents in the 1970s

Justin Smith

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This article examines three British films made at Shepperton Studios in the first
half of the 1970s. It draws upon the reports filed by Film Finances’ assessor John
Croydon to the Chairman Robert Garrett, and correspondence between Film Finances and the films’ producers, as well as scripts, schedules, daily progress reports and budgetary information. Two of the films, The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973) and ‘Don’t Look Now’ (Nicolas Roeg, 1973), were backed by the struggling independent British Lion. The third, Lisztomania (Ken Russell, 1975), was the second in a planned three-picture deal with Goodtimes Enterprises’ subsidiary Visual Programme Systems (VPS), and was supported by the National Film Finance Corporation (NFFC); but the deal collapsed in spectacular fashion, almost bankrupting its producers in the process. The focus of attention here will be on production histories, rather than the films themselves. I hope to be able to assess, thereby, what additional value the Film Finances Archive can provide in understanding the relations between capital and creativity in the British film industry in this period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-102
Number of pages18
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Issue number1
Early online date14 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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