"The longest unsponsored advertisement ever to reach cinema screens", reckoned producer Monja Danischewski. Maybe so, but Alexander Mackendrick's debut feature is much more than that. This comic account of a real-life event pitches a priggish English army captain against the remorseless guile of an islandful of thirsty Scots defending a cache of shipwrecked whisky, and helped make ‘Ealing Comedy’ one of British cinema’s most enduring brands. It's a film of boundless mischief, and it marked Mackendrick from the start as the most complex and subtle of Ealing's directors.
The SS Politician, whose real-life shipwreck (while carrying nearly 30,000 cases of finest malt) inspired Compton Bennett's source novel, went down off the coast of Eriskay in the Hebrides. The film itself was shot on Barra - a short but sometimes treacherous boat journey away - with many islanders among the extras.
Comedy 2018 91 mins Director: Carl Hunter
Bill Nighy, Sam Riley and Alice Lowe star in this stylish and heartfelt comedy-drama about a Scrabble-obsessed tailor searching for a lost son.
Comedy 2018 81 mins Director: Guto Parente
The wealthy elite feed off the lower classes in a deliciously twisted Brazilian social satire that’s definitely not for the squeamish.
Comedy 1952 83 mins Director: John Guillermin
When an englishman returns from abroad, he must face the powers of a foreign court in this British screwball gem.
Comedy 2020 91 mins Director: Curtis Vowell
When couple Tim and Zoe find out they're expecting, their approaches couldn't be more different. Tim runs towards fatherhood with joy, while Zoe is more hesitant, this heartfelt comedy takes their relationship to uncharted territory.
Drama 2019 96 mins Director: Tim Mielants
Life on the nudist colony is fairly routine for handyman Patrick (Kevin Janssens), that is until the mystery of his missing hammer sets in motion a hilarious quest of self-discovery.
Drama 2019 104 mins Director: Coky Giedroyc
Beanie Feldstein stars as a young rock journalist in this coming-of-age comedy, based on the novel by Caitlin Moran.
Drama 1982 181 mins Director: Ingmar Bergman
Bergman’s magisterial and sumptuous portrait of a 20th-century Swedish family.
Comedy 2008 237 mins Director: Sion Sono
Japanese cinema's enfant terrible, Sion Sono, unleashes this demented, whirlwind tale of cults, love, violence and perversion.
Drama 2008 96 mins Director: Bernard Rose
Bernard Rose updates Tolstoy's tale about the corrupting power of sex and jealousy, with Danny Huston as the wealthy husband of a beautiful, famous pianist (Elisabeth Röhm).
Documentary 2018 73 mins Director: Sean McAllister
Acclaimed filmmaker Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story) returns to his hometown of Hull to profile local resident Steve Arnott, a struggling warehouse worker who harbours his own creative dream of breaking into hip-hop.
Drama 1961 122 mins Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece stars Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau as a couple re-examining their emotional bonds.
Comedy 1932 72 mins Director: James Whale
A group of weary travellers arrive at a spooky mansion with a madman on the loose, in this classic horror-comedy from James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein)
Featuring Finlay Currie
Thriller 1948 95 mins Director: John Paddy Carstairs
The Orient Express plays host to a plot involving adultery, espionage, robbery and murder in this fine British thriller.
Thriller 1933 91 mins Director: Walter Forde
A star-studded international cast boards the Paris-Rome express for this lavish comedy-thriller from Gainsborough Pictures.
War 1943 82 mins Director: Lawrence Huntington
Nazi agents are pitted against a gang of plucky Brits in this exciting comedy-thriller set in a country house where danger awaits a visiting VIP.
Featuring Basil Radford
War 1943 103 mins Director: Frank Launder
The finest example of British wartime fictional propaganda follows a group of women who take on factory work to support the war effort.
War 1946 100 mins Director: Basil Dearden
A realistic recreation of life as a prisoner of war in Germany lends credence to this moving account of wartime survival against the odds.
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
Drama 1952 93 mins Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Alexander Mackendrick's drama about a deaf girl and her unstable family life is remarkably unsentimental while still packing an emotional punch.
Comedy 1954 92 mins Director: Alexander Mackendrick
A wily old tugboat skipper outfoxes a wealthy American businessman in Alexander Mackendrick's underrated Ealing comedy
Documentary 2020 86 mins Director: Lisa Rovner
The remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to transform how we produce and listen to music today.
Documentary 2019 105 mins Director: Pat Collins
Director Pat Collins’ sublime portrait of the renowned American folklorist and ethnologist, Henry Glassie, who has spent a half century documenting the artistic processes of traditional craftspeople.
Drama 2020 96 mins Director: Francisco Márquez
There are echoes of Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman in this gripping tale of class divisions and ethical responsibility in contemporary Argentina.
Drama 2019 80 mins Director: Samuel Van Grinsven
Sexual obsessions spiral dangerously out of control in this altogether different coming-of-age tale.
Drama 2020 104 mins Director: Suzanne Guacci
Past mistakes haunt the present and threaten a new love affair between an older woman and her patient in this compelling melodrama.
Drama 2020 116 mins Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Lee Isaac Chung's sweeping story of a Korean-American family in search of the American Dream, winner of two Sundance prizes and now nominated for six Academy Awards.