'Their Very 'Englishness'
The subtitle and headline caption sum up perfectly what this website is all about, the vision of Britain, particularly
England, it's places, people and events, as seen through the eyes of the film camera, the directors, producers and scenarists.
Many of these films were adapted from novels, themselves personal visions of England. Two film adaptations immediately
come to mind which illustrate. the 'Very Englishness', one of community and one of the darker, seamier side of English life,
they are Brighton Rock,
made in 1947 and starring a 24 year old Richard Attenborough as the vicious teenage gangster, Pinkie ,
from the novel by Graham Greene, who also wrote the screenplay, and the wonderful tale of a community on a street in London,
the 1948 film,
London Belongs to Me,
again starring Richard Attenborough
, this time as Percy Boon, a boy with ambitions, but very little else,
from the novel of the same name,
by Norman Collins, the screenplay was by the film's director,Sidney Gilliat, and J.B. Williams. We'll be looking at both these
films, each will be given its own page on this website.
Actually there is one more film we should mention here, and that is the brilliant character study, or studies of a family,
again in London, this time the film is adapted from a play, by Noel Coward, it is This Happy Breed
made in 1944 and was the first film that was solo directed by David Lean, with a screenplay by Ronald Neame
and Anthony Havelock-Allan and starring
Robert Newton, Celia Johnson and John Mills.
Alot of ground to cover, alot of films to sort through, the links list, to your right, is just a hint of where we're
going, what we'll be looking at, and what we'll be looking for. As to whether this Vision of Albion was a true one....isn't
that rather up to the individual who views these films? We think so.
This website is dedicated to
Sir John Mills (1908 - 2005)
He was one of Britain's best known and best
loved actors, and he died on, Saturday, 23 April, 2005
aged 97 after a short illness
Veteran British actor Sir John Mills, one of the country's most beloved and best-known screen stars, died, at 6:30am
(12:30 a.m. CDT) aged 97 after a short illness, a member of his staff said. The former song-and-dance man, who appeared
in more than 100 films in a 70-plus year career, was among the most notable of British film stars, winning a best supporting
actor Oscar in 1971 for "Ryan's Daughter".
"Sir John Mills died peacefully at home after a short illness," a member of his staff said.
The actor's family was travelling to Britain from the United States and was expected to arrive by Monday, the BBC reported.
Mills, whose daughter Hayley has also had a highly successful acting career, was born on Feb. 22, 1908 in Felixstowe,
eastern England, John Lewis Mills started in the theater at the age of 19, helped in part by his friendship with Noel Coward.
His output in the 1940s and 1950s was prolific. During his long career he appeared in more than 100 films
Mills made his name in patriotic films during and after World War II including "The October Man," "Scott of the Antarctic,"
"Dunkirk" and "Ice Cold in Alex."
Handsome and dapper, he embodied to many the archetypal British war hero, either as the cool-headed gentleman officer or
the resigned working class soldier.
His first big break came in 1946, when he played Pip in a film version of Charles Dickens' novel "Great Expectations."
He always maintained his favorite movie was the 1960 production "Tunes of Glory," in which he co-starred with Alec Guinness
as a highly-strung English officer given the job of leading a hostile Scottish army battalion.
He won the best actor award at the Venice Festival for the film and went on to take an Oscar as best supporting actor a
decade later for "Ryan's Daughter," directed by David Lean.
A versatile actor, Mills had a minor role in the 1987 film "Who's that Girl?" and made his final film appearance in
2003 in "Bright Young Things," directed by British comedian Stephen Fry. In it, at the age of 95, he had a cameo role as a
man snorting cocaine at a party.
He fathered one of Britain's leading theatrical families. Both his daughters, Juliet and Hayley, are successful actresses
who found their stage feet at an early age in some of their father's productions. Sir John starred with Hayley in the 1959
film Tiger Bay.
Mills, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1977, was divorced from his first wife, the actress Aileen Raymond, in 1940
after nine years of marriage. He is survived by his second wife, Mary Hayley Bell.