Film screenings for 2012/2013: London's Secret Communities
Invisible to the bustling crowds of workers and tourists, hidden behind closed doors and linked by clandestine networks: London has always been a place of secret communities. Whether these are political, religious, or more commonly sexual and criminal, they have provided fertile subjects for filmmakers. Taking our cue from two unfairly neglected postwar films, Dickinson’s political thriller Secret People and Reed’s The Fallen Idol, set in the closed world of an embassy, this series explores five decades of secretive London communities and their occasional emergence into daylight or notoriety.
- 8 Jan: Secret People (Thorold Dickinson, 1951) with Valentina Cortese, Audrey Hepburn
In the tradition of Hitchcock’s London thrillers, two refugee sisters are drawn into a bomb plot.
- 15 Jan: The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948) with Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan.
A young boy living is caught up in adult scheming after a death in a Belgravia embassy.
- 22 Jan: Secret City (Lee Salter, Michael Chanan, 2012) A timely new investigation of the power wielded by the Corporation of London, introduced by the director, Michael Chanan.
- 29 Jan: Sapphire (Basil Dearden, 1959) with Nigel Patrick, Michael Craig, Yvonne Mitchell
A pregnant girl’s murder exposes racial prejudice in 1950s London, not least among the police.
- 5 Feb: Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Bryan Forbes, 1964) with Kim Stanley, Richard Attenborough
In the seedy world of spiritualism, a medium organises a kidnap to plots to prove her powers.
- 12 Feb: The Small World of Sammy Lee (Ken Hughes, 1963) with Anthony Newley, Julia Foster
Soho’s underworld is the setting for a strip-club manager’s desperate battle against time.
- 19 Feb: Victim (Basil Dearden, 1961) with Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Sims, Dennis Price
A barrister tackles the blackmailers who prey on gay men, exposing his own homosexuality.
- 26 Feb: Scandal (Michael Caton-Jones, 1989) with John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Ian McKellen
The 1963 Profumo affair revealed a hedonistic party culture that threatened the government.
- 5 Mar: The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992) with Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forrest Whitaker
On the run in London, a former Irish terrorist enters a world of ambiguous sexuality.
- 12 Mar: Stella Does Tricks (Coky Giedroyc, 1996) with Kelly Macdonald, James Bolam
A young Glaswegian woman trapped in King’s Cross prostitution tries to escape.
- 19 Mar: Beautiful People (Jasmin Dizdar, 1999) with Faruk Pruti, Rosalind Ayres
Balkan war refugees in conflict in London, where international football passions are also running high.
All screenings at the Birkbeck Cinema on Tuesdays at 2.30
The LSSC exists to promote public awareness of and research into London’s screen history, as part of London’s Screen Archives: the Regional Network. Further information from: email@example.com. See also Wednesday evening screenings on the London Communities theme at the Stratford East Picturehouse.