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Hell Is a City
Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.
Police drama 1959 96 mins
Director: Val Guest
Stanley Baker stars as world weary DI Harry Martineau, taken to pounding the streets of Manchester in search of an escaped convict, while at the same time trying to avert his messy personal life from unravelling.
Produced by Hammer Films and directed by Val Guest, Hell is a City is an essential British crime film from the period, endowed with a fine cast of character actors from Donald Pleasance to Billie Whitelaw and Warren Mitchell. With its gritty characterisation of Martineau as a flawed and emotional man, and authentic location work that ranges from the mean streets of Manchester to the Yorkshire Moors, Hell is a City is a key work of British realism that also happens to be a gripping crime film.
Police drama 1959 113 mins Director: J. Lee Thompson
A young girl witnesses a murder, befriending the killer and shielding him from the police.
Green for Danger
Medical drama 1947 87 mins Director: Sidney Gilliat
A series of murders at a wartime hospital are probed by an eccentric policeman.
High and Low
Crime 1963 143 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s procedural crime masterpiece, from Ed McBain’s gritty novel, follows an industrialist who faces an agonising choice as a result of a botched kidnapping by ruthless criminals.
Crime 1949 122 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s masterful mix of film noir and police thriller set on the sweltering mean streets of occupied Tokyo.
Working Class Heroes
Crime 1997 101 mins Director: Antonia Bird
Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone are members of a criminal gang that tears itself apart after a heist goes wrong, in Antonia Bird’s stylish thriller.
Drama 1975 121 mins Director: Horace Ové
Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted black youths in 1970s London.
It Always Rains on Sunday
Drama 1947 88 mins Director: Robert Hamer
Austerity noir: Ealing's downbeat but compelling East End thriller.
Burning an Illusion
Legal and Courtroom drama 1981 101 mins Director: Menelik Shabazz
Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.
My Way Home
Drama 1978 72 mins Director: Bill Douglas
Concluding his acclaimed Trilogy, Bill Douglas’ autobiographical film follows young Jamie as he’s conscripted in the RAF and finally feels at home.
My Ain Folk
Drama 1973 55 mins Director: Bill Douglas
The second part of the revered Bill Douglas Trilogy follows Jamie as he ends up in a children’s home.
Featuring Stanley Baker
The Tell-Tale Heart
Drama 1953 21 mins Director: J.B. Williams
Stanley Baker enacts the classic Edgar Allan Poe story in this chilling short film, only recently rediscovered after being lost for 50 years.
Directed by Val Guest
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
Science Fiction 1961 100 mins Director: Val Guest
The BFI’s new HD remaster of the British sci-fi classic. A journalist discovers that the Earth has been knocked off its axis and is moving ever closer to the sun. Is the Earth doomed?
Drama 2000 154 mins Director: Liv Ullmann
Ingmar Bergman scripts this semi-autobiographical drama directed by his closest collaborator, Liv Ullmann, about a theatre director facing up to the pain he inflicted upon his muse.
Drama 2004 102 mins Director: Cate Shortland
This intoxicating drama about an adolescent girl's sexual awakening launched the careers of both its star Abbie Cornish and director Cate Shortland.
Drama 2015 113 mins Director: Naomi Kawase
A struggling street food vendor accepts help from an elderly lady with a sensational recipe up her sleeve, in Naomi Kawase's bittersweet drama of culinary redemption.
Khrustalyov, My Car!
Drama 1998 146 mins Director: Alexei German
Aleksei German's hysterical and hallucinatory satire unfolds amid the chaos and paranoia of Stalin's 'doctor's plot' in 1953 USSR.
The Blue Angel
Drama 1930 103 mins Director: Josef von Sternberg
Marlene Dietrich is sensational in her breakthrough role as Lola Lola, star attraction of The Blue Angel beer hall.
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Comedy 2005 154 mins Director: Cristi Puiu
Cristi Puiu's multiple award-winning drama about a seriously ill man caught in an absurdist bureaucratic nightmare over the course of one night.