6
Sep 04

B-Movies were great weren’t they?

Do You SeePost a comment • 326 views

B-Movies were great weren’t they? Received wisdom suggests that because B-Movies were cheap, throwaway and not studio priorities, this allowed the directors paradoxically more power over their content. B-movies, the darlings of the Cahiers De Cinema set were where the true spirit of Hollywood lived, where the underbelly of US politics was criticised and artistry reigned supreme. All because a few people quite liked (what they saw in) The Invasion of The Body Snatchers.

It’s a bit of an indie arguement. If something is a bit rubbish, it’s a bit more real. And it is an argument which has relocated itself in film to the so called independent film. But the B-movie was not independent, and neither are a lot of the indies knocking around these days. What we should really be looking at is the studio schlock. The straight to video, straight to TV movie channels (who really need premieres) is the home of the latter day B-movie. But since this stuff is never heralded, never fanfared, never seen in the cinema – it is ignored.

I recently saw a British revenge thriller called The Fourth Angel. Typical B-movie stuff. Jeremy Irons plays and Economist journo whose family is killed in a terrorist atrocity, and he is out for justice. On his side is his spy mate Charlotte Rampling, his boss Timothy West and (after wrangling) CIA guy Forest Whittaker. Against him is preppy US State department guy Jason Preistly. Its an OK cast, a solid generic plot (posh mans Death Wish) and entertains for its ninety minutes. And as an unloved B-movie I can find hidden genius in it? Hidden ideas about the political situation (well, like all current films it blames the US for everything). Not really. But it was the best joined up London film I had seen in ages. All the corners they went round were correct, it had some nice unseen late night market shots and St Pancras always looks great.

It is a B-movie and I guess the cast knew it. But what a cast, what a waste? Nah, someone will reclaim this for posterity, just not me. I don’t do films that quote Revelations, and whilst it might be interesting for what it obliquely says about global politics, that will only be actually interesting in twenty years time. At the moment, we can use the news.

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