Special Feature: Our 5 picks for the British Film Registry

This week, CineVue were kindly invited to provide our top five picks for films to be inaugurated into WhatCulture’s brand new British Film Registry. The Registry is currently being designed as an archive for Great British Cinema, lauding only the finest works the UK currently has to offer. The results can be seen by following this link, but exclusively for our readers, here’s a run-down of the five cinematic classics we decided to choose, with a short sentence explaining each decision. Enjoy!

The Great White Silence (1924, dir. Herbert G. Ponting)
It’s testament to Herbert G. Ponting’s remarkable achievement in filmmaking that after almost a century, his documentary charting Captain Scott’s ill-fated British Antarctic expedition remains an awe-inspiring experience. Epic in scope and utterly enthralling, this enlightening film not only captures the magnitude of Scott’s ambitious voyage but also exudes a beguiling and intoxicating sense of steadfast adventure and fearless exploration. (Patrick Gamble)

The Third Man (1949, dir. Carol Reed)
Arguably black & white filmmaking’s finest hour, Reed’s seedy post-war noir features some of the most iconic visuals in cinema history. Instantly identifiable by Anton Karas’ zither theme alone, the shadowy streets and murky sewers of Vienna have never looked more saturated with mystery and intrigue. Orson Welles is superb as the enigmatic Harry Lime, but make no mistake – this is Joseph Cotten’s film from beginning to end. (Daniel Green, Editor)

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960, dir. Karel Reisz)
Adapted from British author Alan Stiltoe’s socio-realist novel of the same name, Karel Reisz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning is the tale of ‘angry young man’ Arthur Seaton, portrayed pitch-perfectly by British stalwart Albert Finney in one of his defining roles. This frank tale of working class life in Nottingham is arguably the finest of the kitchen sink dramas, and went on to influence musical greats such as The Smiths, The Stranglers, Madness and The Kinks. (Joe Walsh) 

A Clockwork Orange (1971, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Often notable by its absence when the work of the late, great Stanley Kubrick is discussed, A Clockwork Orange’s Shakespearean majesty succeeds in creating its own distinct time and language littered with talk of “eggiwegs”, pains in the “gulliver” and lashings of Beethoven-induced ultra-violence. Malcolm McDowell delivers a career best performance as the young and impressionable Alex, one of cinema’s greatest sociopaths. (DG)

Naked (1993, dir. Mike Leigh)
Featuring the best British lead performance of the 1990s courtesy of David Thewlis’ Johnny, a reckless, self-destructive street philosopher, Mike Leigh’s award-winning drama is a hard, yet rewarding watch. You revile Johnny and root for him in equal measure, and it’s difficult to think of a more complex anti-hero. Credit goes to Thewlis’ masterclass in method acting and the rehearsal techniques of the exceptional Leigh. (Lee Cassanell)

Which British cinema classics would you like to see immortalised in the British Film Registry? Leave your comments below.

Daniel Green

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