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The Daddy
August 30, 2012 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Alan Clarke was a British television and film director who produced some of those most hard hitting and controversial work of the 70s and 80s including Scum, Made In Britain and Elephant.

Senses of Cinema
My hero Alan Clarke by Paul Greengrass
Tim Roth on Alan Clarke

Arena 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
His Own Man 1, 2, 3

Penda's Fen
Diane
Scum - BBC version 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Scum - Film version
Made In Britain - Trailer, clip
Rita, Sue and Bob Too!
Christine 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The Firm
Elephant

Many links NSFW
posted by fearfulsymmetry (18 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excellent 500th post.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those are great Especially Made in Britain. I don't know that much about British cinema but I see them as a logical extension of earlier kitchen sink dramas of the 50s such as Look Back in Anger and This Sporting Life. I could be wrong but it seems to me the the angry men of the 50s were of course the fathers of the angry men of the 80s.

As a complete outsider, borstal dramas like Scum and the earlier The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner are an interesting counterpoint to the boarding school fare we imagine typifies the lives of young men there. It is almost like "Prison was my boarding school".

For whatever reason, we don't watch squalid dramas like the great This Sporting Life, preferring instead the more romantic vision of Downton Abbey or the cool of The Italian Job.Sadly I think British cinema never got the attention French and Italian cinema got here in America, I think it is because it is in the same language you don't get to feel inteligent by reading subtitles.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alan Clarke - he's the daddy.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:45 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Senses of Cinema essay is particularly excellent, and links to some of the lesser-known works, esp. Christine and Penda's Fen, are appreciated. As usual with Clarke, however, I'm frustrated by the mass of under-the-iceberg work which I just can't get access to (Contact, Baal, The Death of Danton, being just three).
posted by Football Bat at 11:48 AM on August 30, 2012


Where's your tool?
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went through a "obsessed from a distance" phase about football hooliganism about 10 years ago, reading everything I could about it -- so even though it seems like I've seen The Firm, I know I haven't, just know about it by stuff I've read. Even watching 5 minutes of it right now, I know it's exactly how I'd imagined it, which means, whatever I read must have described it well. Can't wait to watch the rest of these, especially after reading the essays. Great post!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:50 AM on August 30, 2012


And before any other American says it, let me acknowledge the elephant in the room (pun intended): I can't believe these were for television.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe these were for television.

I know! I stopped bringing up british television whenever anyone talks about The Wire around me because I started feeling like That Guy but WTF American televison?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:59 AM on August 30, 2012


First thought: I now know of three Alan or Allan Clarkes who were active in Britain in the 1970s: this Alan Clarke, Allan Clarke the soccer player, and Allan Clarke of the Hollies. I wonder how often any one of these Clarkes got letters or phone calls intended for one of the other ones.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 1:20 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe these were for television.

Well the television version of Scum was banned, hence the cinema version. Though it's very unlikely you'd seeing anything close to any of this now drama writers, directors and producers have to go through the blandifier before they are let anyway near tv.

I'm frustrated by the mass of under-the-iceberg work which I just can't get access to (Contact, Baal, The Death of Danton, being just three).

Contact is on Youtube... I think I might have accidentally deleted the link when I was tidying up the formatting. Anyway here's the first part.

I wonder how often any one of these Clarkes got letters or phone calls intended for one of the other ones.

There's also this close namesake who had a certain notoriety in the UK
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:26 PM on August 30, 2012


Odd to think that a lecherous Conservative cabinet minister would have the time or inclination to create such a body of great social drama, if you think about it.
posted by Abiezer at 1:56 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. I haven't seen Elephant since it was broadcast and I still think it's the best depiction of "The Troubles" that has ever been made.
posted by bort_deluxe at 4:23 PM on August 30, 2012


Where's your tool?

What tool?

Man. Scum along with being the right age for Robin of Sherwood means that no matter how self-parodic Ray Winstone becomes, I'll always grant him a free pass.
posted by Hartster at 4:33 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing part of Made In Britain on TVOntario back in the eighties. The ending where the police officer smacks around the skinhead and tells him he's going to "obey to learn the rules like everyone else" was singularly shocking.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 6:10 PM on August 30, 2012


His son is Gabriel Clarke the ITV sports reporter. I've always sort of admired the fact he did his own thing.
posted by fullerine at 4:46 AM on August 31, 2012


Though it's very unlikely you'd seeing anything close to any of this now drama writers, directors and producers have to go through the blandifier before they are let anyway near tv.

Breaking Bad.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:12 AM on August 31, 2012


In the US Vince Gilligan gets to do Breaking Bad after getting his chops on X-Files... In the UK he'd have to do Doctors and Emmerdale first.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on August 31, 2012


Breaking Bad, clever as it is, is basically the 'self made man' narrative you see a lot (with added hubris)... it does not really have the subtext of Clarke's work that society/the system will crush you if you try and stand up against it. (Of course this could still happen with BB)

And yeah I was talking about UK television in particular.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:07 AM on August 31, 2012


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