Handmade Films


Handmade Films
   During the 1980s, Handmade Films stood out as a rare phenomenon; it was an internationally renowned and consistently successful British film production company. It was established in 1978 by former Beatle George Harrison and financial consultant Denis O’Brien, initially to save Monty Python’s Life of Brian after it had been shelved by its original US backers, EMI. Although the birth of Handmade was somewhat accidental (set up as an initiative to see through a single venture), Life of Brian’s international success alerted Harrison and O’Brien to the viability of a hitherto marginalized paradigm of cinema, characterized by modest budgets, innovation and flexibility, and a commitment to emerging British talent. In the ten years after its inception Handmade completed twenty-two films, an impressively eclectic body of work which nevertheless retained a distinctive unifying character. Following the controversial comedy Life of Brian, a satirical (but not blasphemous) account of the birth of Christianity, came other projects associated with the Monty Python team, including Terry Gilliam’s visionary science-fiction epic Time Bandits (1981) and the Michael Palin-scripted period comedy The Missionary (1981). A measure of its loyalty to participants in its early success is reflected also in Bob Hoskins’s opportunity to direct The Raggedy Rawney in 1988, after he had appeared in earlier Handmade hits such as the violent British gangster movie The Long Good Friday (1980), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987) and Neil Jordan’s successful thriller Mona Lisa (1986). The commitment to British acting, screenwriting and directing talent was reflected in other ventures, such as the black comedy A Private Function (1984), which was scripted by Alan Bennett, and Nicholas Roeg’s surreal oedipal thriller Track 29 (1988), a collaboration with Dennis Potter. Bruce Robinson’s inspired comedy Withnail and I (1987), which follows the fortunes of two unemployed actors at the end of the 1960s, is still hugely popular and represents many of Handmade’s trademarks: its dedication to new directors, to narrative originality, its shoestring budget and not least its stream of humour and characterization that somehow is fundamentally ‘British’.
   Handmade’s international recognition was achieved despite limited finances through inspired commissioning and pragmatic support. Despite surviving a number of financial setbacks—Privates on Parade (1982), Water (1984) and the 1986 Madonna vehicle Shanghai Surprise were box office disappointments—production was paralysed in 1989 by a series of protracted legal actions against US distributors in the face of faltering fortunes. In August 1994 Handmade was acquired by Paragon Entertainment Corporation, a Canadian giant geared towards bigger budget family entertainment films.
   See also: Channel 4 Films; Euston Films
   MATTHEW GRICE

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • HandMade Films — Тип Публичная компания: LSE: HMF Год основания 1979 …   Википедия

  • Handmade Films — is a British film production and distribution company. Through a series of sales, and acquisitions, the company now known as Handmade Plc owns all the rights and assets of the original HandMade Films Ltd. Notable films from the studio include;… …   Wikipedia

  • Handmade Films — Image:Handmadefilms.jpg Logo de Handmade Films Création 1979 Dates clés 1979 : Sortie dans les salles La Vie de Brian Fondateur(s) George Harrison …   Wikipédia en Français

  • HandMade Films — ist eine von George Harrison und Denis O Brien 1979 gegründete Filmproduktionsgesellschaft. Geschichte Das Unternehmen entstand, als während der Produktion des Films Das Leben des Brian die EMI ihr finanzielles Engagement zurückzog und den Monty… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • HandMade Films — Création 1979 Dates clés 1979 : Sortie dans les salles La Vie de Brian Fondateurs George Harrison Denis O Brian Personnages clés …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Handmade Films — ist eine von George Harrison und Denis O Brien 1979 gegründete Filmproduktionsgesellschaft. Geschichte Das Unternehmen entstand, als während der Produktion des Films Das Leben des Brian die EMI ihr finanzielles Engagement zurückzog und den Monty… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Handmade Films — …   Википедия

  • Handmade — means something made by hand, rather than by a machine. It may refer to:* Handmade (album) the second album by Jimmy Rankin, released in 2003. * Handmade Films * Cardmaking Handmade cards * Handmade jewelry * Papermaking Handmade paper *… …   Wikipedia

  • Handmade Plc — #REDIRECT Handmade Films …   Wikipedia

  • Hand Made Films — HandMade Films ist eine von George Harrison und Denis O Brien 1979 gegründete Filmproduktionsgesellschaft. Geschichte Das Unternehmen entstand, als während der Produktion des Films Das Leben des Brian die EMI ihr finanzielles Engagement zurückzog …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.