B Films as a Record of British Working-Class Preoccupations in the 1950s. The Historical Importance of a Genre that Has Disappeared

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The first extensive study of the British B film in the post-war period. The B film was, in the 1950s and 1960s, part of the staple fare of a cinema-going public although, even in their heyday, these films were undervalued even by the people who made them. Once the ‘full supporting programme’ disappeared from local cinema screens these films also apparently disappeared from the consciousness of all but a very few. This book contains ten black and white photographs.


“Paul’s book is one of a small but growing number of publications that are helping to rescue a neglected but important body of work from obscurity. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is that he shows just how interesting the British B films of the 1950s could be, and how much light they can shed on the obsessions and concerns of ordinary people in the period.” - Prof. Andrew Higson, University of East Anglia

“Paul Quinn is able to draw on his personal experience of viewing several of these films in cinemas at the time of their first release and on interviews with now deceased film-makers. . . . Internet sites have stimulated interest in these obscure but fascinating films and increasing numbers of them are being made available on DVD. Paul Quinn’s research offers an invaluable guide to their distinctive characteristics.” - Prof. Robert Murphy, De Montfort University

“Paul Quinn has created a multi-layered and richly rewarding account of a neglected genre and a neglected era in British cinema. . . . Along with a broad approach to the nature, style and contours of the ‘B’ picture genre as a whole, he invaluably includes in-depth analyses of the careers of the two most significant of British ‘B’ picture directors, Vernon Sewell and Francis Searle and an account of one of the most important and influential production companies (Tempean).” - Prof. Jeffrey Richards, Lancaster University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Andrew Higson
List of Illustrations
1. Curtain Raisers
2. Signs of the Times
3. The B Movie in Britain
4. Vernon Sewell, ‘Darkest of Horses’
5. The Man in Black (and White)
6. Tempean Films
7. Conclusion
Appendix 1. 1955 American Stars in British B Movies
Appendix 2. 1955 North Norfolk Cinema Presentations
Appendix 3. B Film Statistics 1950s

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