Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The ones that got away ... *

I have been, as mentioned previously, tracking down 1950s issues of British film magazine "Films and Filming" - a magazine I grew up with which I first discovered in 1962 when 16, so over the years I have been collecting earlier issues, and had them all from 1960 onwards through the 60s and 70s, when it folded. 
I even worked there for a year in the mid-70s and got to know the reclusive owner and that great crew of staff, as we manually did subscriptions and got each issue out - of course it would all be computerised now. 
But it also gave me a chance to catch up with some more back issues. Now that the magazine has been gone for decades, I feel I am keeping its memory alive. I also got to know its editor Robin Bean and did some reviews for him. But by the late '70s the magazine was in decline, there were other good film magazines around (FILMS ILUSTRATED) and its quality declined as did its finances ..... it got more explicit too due to the changing movie scene.

The back issues are fascinating reading, covering reviews and feautures, as they interviewed all the names with movies coming out: Lee Remick, Dirk Bogarde, David Hemmings, Michael York, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, David Lean and almost any director one could mention. It was big on European cinema too and introduced me to the works of Antonioni, Visconti, Fellini, Losey et al and it had several French and Italian editions where the likes of Delon and Belmondo were interviewed and there were at least 7 issues with Delon on the cover. Brando had 6 covers, Bette Davis was on 4 covers, Dirk Bogarde, and Sophia Loren had 5 each. Gina was on the cover of the 2nd issue (below), the first (in October 1954) had Brando and Saint in a shot from ON THE WATERFRONT.

So, I have been collecting the 1950s back numbers, from eBay (plenty of 60s and 70s issues still available...), but there are just four I cannot find ... I finally got a 1957 one I was missing, which had Monroe and Olivier on the cover from THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, that is now winging its way to me from America. But the June 1959 number with SOME LIKE IT HOT on the cover may be unobtainable now, and perhaps the third issue in December 1954 with Judy and A STAR IS BORN

The unique thing about "Films and Filming" is that it was a quality monthly - the only one in England at the time, as "Sight and Sound" was then a quarterly producing just 4 issues a year until it went monthly in the 1990s, of course it was/is a BFI publication so no lack of finance there, whereas "Films and Filming" and Philip Dosse's other arts magazines were privately financed.  For magazine junkies these are endlessly fascinating, not least for their not-so-coded gay subtext and advertisements. 
Left and right: F&F in the 1960s. The chunky 100-page 100th issue January 1963, with a long interview with David Lean for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and features on BB, CC, DD, and MM: Brigitte, Claudia Cardinale, Diana Dors and Marilyn.  More F&F covers at label ....

* They didn't get away - I've got them, from a job lot of 40 F&F mags on eBay, at a very reasonable price - they arrive this week, and my friend Martin will buy the spares I don't need. So its all good.


  1. Once you get all the awards from year one you must send them to me. I may even do what you've done and try to get the missing issues. I know I will have a long wait for you to kick the bucket and leave me yours!! (Like Dame Angela you will live forever!)

  2. BTW, I forgot to tell you that when I went to google a film that I wanted to use a photo from your blog came up. So now you really are famous, (as opposed to infamous) :)

  3. A bitchslap is winging it way to you. What year did your collection start? I love those early 60s ones. I seem to have snapped up all the 50s issues now .... there are 2 eBays - the UK one and the USA (where there are some as well, but postage etc costs more and takes longer to arrive).

  4. My first issue was the one with ADVISE AND CONSENT on the cover in 1962 (I was 12!).

  5. Yes, I have that one- October 1962, I like those 1962 issues, I was 16 then - to your 12 ! How precocious. I actually started with those 1961 issues and sent off for them every month.