Richard Lester

Neil Sinyard

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ISBN: 978-0-7190-6756-3
Series: British Film Makers
Subject Area: Film and Media
BIC Category: Film scripts & screenplays
Published: July 2010
216 x 138 mm
256 pages
Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Richard Lester is of the most significant yet misunderstood directors of the post-war era. Indelibly associated with the Beatles and the ‘swinging Sixties’ because of his direction of *A Hard Day’s Night* and *Help* and his joyous sex comedy *The Knack*, Lester has tended to be categorised as a modish director whose heyday passed when that decade’s optimism slid into disillusionment and violence.

    This book offers a critical appreciation and reappraisal of his work, arguing that it had much greater depth and variety than he has been given credit for. His versatility encompasses the Brechtian anti-heroics of *How I Won the War*; the surreal nuclear comedy of *The Bed-Sitting Room* and the swashbuckling adventure of *The Musketeers* films. He has even, in his instinctively iconoclastic manner, cut Superman down to size.

    The book should win new admirers for a director with a gift of making movies whose visual wit and imaginative imagery reveal an intelligent and enquiring scepticism about heroes and society. Including comments from Lester himself and illustrations from his own private collection, the book is a must for film scholars and enthusiasts alike.
    List of plates
    Introduction: oblique moments
    1. Learning the craft
    *The Running, Jumping & Standing Still Film* (1959);
    *It’s Trad, Dad* (1962);
    *The Mouse on the Moon* (1963)
    2. Swingin’ sixties
    *A Hard Day’s Night* (1964);
    *The Knack* (1965);
    *Help!* (1965)
    3. Comedy tonight, tragedy tomorrow
    *A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum* (1966)
    4. Trilogy of disillusionment
    *How I Won the War* (1967);
    *Petulia* (1968);
    *The Bed-Sitting Room* (1969)
    5. All for one and every man for himself
    *The Three Musketeers* (1973);
    *The Four Musketeers* (1974)
    6. Holding the country to ransom
    *Juggernaut* (1974)
    7. Fame and misfortune
    *Royal Flash* (1975);
    *Robin and Marian* (1976);
    *Butch and Sundance: The Early Days* (1978)
    8. Mixed bathing
    *The Ritz* (1976)
    9. Romance and revolution
    *Cuba* (1979)
    10. Men and supermen
    *Superman II* (1981); *Superman III* (1983)
    11. Last orders
    *Finders Keepers* (1984);
    *The Return of the Musketeers* (1989);
    *Get Back* (1991)
    12. Conclusion
    Neil Sinyard is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Hull
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