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BFI Shows Rattigan Films in Centenary Season

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In tandem with the many plays being staged this year to mark Terence Rattigan’s centenary, the BFI Southbank is mounting a season of films in honour of the dramatist and screenwriter, who died in 1977.

Running throughout April, Terence Rattigan: What Price the Screenwriter? will showcase a selection of his varied screen output including Brighton Rock (1945), The Browning Version (1951) and The Prince and the Showgirl (1957).

In addition, Rattigan expert and biographer Michael Darlow will, on 13 April, present an extended introduction to the screening of Journey Together (1945), investigating “why film screenwriters are generally accorded less respect than theatrical dramatists”.

Rattigan was a highly successful screenwriter who wrote more than 20 films and was twice nominated for an Oscar (for Breaking the Sound Barrier in 1952 and Separate Tables in 1958). He wrote screen adaptations of his own stage plays, original screenplays and adaptations of work by others.

According to a BFI press release: “Throughout his career Rattigan’s film work alternated between projects which he found creatively exciting and those he regarded as well-paid chores and a means of sustaining his extravagant lifestyle. Rattigan ended an article he penned in 1950 by protesting at the extravagant critical respect accorded to film directors by reminding fellow screenwriters that ‘drama is inference, and inference drama’.

“He challenged them to ‘remember that the screenplay is the child not only of its mother, the silent film, but also of its father, the Drama; that it has affinities not only with Griffith and de Mille, but also with Sophocles, Shakespeare and Ibsen’.”

On stage his reputation has enjoyed a recent resurgence, with current revivals of his work including the critically acclaimed Flare Path at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket and Cause Celebre at the Old Vic.

For a full schedule of screenings in Terence Rattigan: What Price the Screenwriter?, visit www.bfi.org.uk


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