University of Exeter Press

Bill Douglas

A Film Artist

    • 250 Pages

    This book examines the work and art of Bill Douglas, thirty years after his death.

    Douglas made only a small body of work during his lifetime: The Bill Douglas Trilogy, based on his deprived childhood in Scotland; and Comrades, his epic on the Tolpuddle Martyrs; but he is acknowledged by many as one of Britain’s greatest filmmakers. His films inspire a depth of passion in those that have seen them, and interest in his work has intensified over the years, both within the UK and overseas.

    This is the first work to examine Douglas’s life and career through archive material recently made available to researchers. Editors Amelia Watts and Phil Wickham have carefully selected a range of voices – both scholars and practitioners – to reappraise Douglas’s career from a variety of angles. The book raises important questions about Douglas’s status as an artist, and reflects on his struggles within the film industry of the 1970s and 1980s in order to consider the attendant difficulties of working within a collaborative and commercial medium such as cinema. The volume also explores the wider legacy of this film artist, through the collection on moving image history he assembled with Peter Jewell, which became the foundation of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. It will appeal to film students and scholars, and the small but committed group of general readers who are interested in Douglas’s work.

    The book has a foreword by the renowned filmmaker and critic Mark Cousins, who, like many other contemporary directors, is a great enthusiast for Douglas’s work.

    'Three decades after you died, people are still writing about you.  ...You are continuing to teach me.'

                                                                                                                                   

    from Mark Cousins' foreword

    This book’s bold methodological approach, together with consideration of Douglas in a wide-range of fields and contexts, ensures the filmmaker’s continued relevance.

    Sarah Neely, University of Glasgow

    This book provides a level of sustained critical analysis of Douglas’ work that is much needed, while the engagement with his archive opens up the material in new, original ways. A refreshing reconsideration of Douglas, and an innovative contribution to the study of film in general.

    Sarah Neely, University of Glasgow

    CONTENTS

    List of Illustrations
    Notes on Contributors
    Acknowledgements

    Foreword by Mark Cousins
    Introduction by Phil Wickham and Amelia Watts

    PART I 
    BILL DOUGLAS IN CONTEXT

    1. Bill Douglas and the British Film Industry during the 1970s and 1980s
      AMELIA WATTS
    2. The Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Collection
      PHIL WICKHAM
    3. Bill Douglas’s Favourite film—Il Mare
      AN INTERVIEW WITH PETER JEWELL BY ANDY KIMPTON-NYE
    4. The Unseen Films of Bill Douglas
      ANDY KIMPTON-NYE
    5. Bill Douglas’s Working Papers
      AMELIA WATTS

    PART II
    BILL DOUGLAS’S FILMS

    1. His Ain Folk?
      ANDREW GORDON
    2. Exploring Questions of Theory and Practice within the Bill Douglas Trilogy
      JAMIE CHAMBERS
    3. True Comrades: Bill Douglas and Bertolt Brecht
      CARA FRASER
    4. Returning to Comrades
      DAVID ARCHIBALD

    PART III 

    BILL DOUGLAS’S LEGACY

    1. Bill Douglas’s Critical Reputation and Legacy
      DUNCAN PETRIE

    Select Bibliography

    Filmography

    Index

     

    Amelia Watts is completing a PhD at the University of Exeter, where her research focuses on the British film industry in the 1970s and 1980s. Her project draws extensively on the work of Scottish writer-director, Bill Douglas, and utilises his largely unseen Working Papers. Phil Wickham is curator of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter. He was previously a curator at the BFI and has written extensively on British film and television. He also teaches film courses at the University.

    ISBN
      • 250 Pages
      • 22 Black & white illustrations
      Subject: