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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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Reflections on Working in Film and Television

Reflections on Working in Film and Television

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1985

(p.97) Reflections on Working in Film and Television
Television Policy

John Schlesinger

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, a film director, reflects on his experience working in television and film. He concedes that he could never ‘understand the difference’ between ‘making television’ and ‘making a film for television’. The one difference is the distinctive audience reaction to the two media: the cinema creates a ‘special experience’. The author went to America to make Midnight Cowboy (1969). On arrival, he recalls his mix of embarrassment and delight. Embarrassment which prompted him to hide with Julie Christie during the premiere of Far From the Madding Crowd, which flopped badly in the United States. His other films include Gorky Park, The Englishman Abroad, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Marathon Man and Yanks. He regrets the move to the conglomerate ownership of Hollywood which has replaced ‘crazy moguls who believed in the artist’ with ‘frightened committees’ and ‘grey-suited gentlemen…[who] are scared of enthusiasm and passion’. Decisions about scripts as well as funding are harder to secure now. Britain's film industry faces difficulties but the author argues that these are overstated.

Keywords:   television, films, film industry, United States, Britain, Hollywood, scripts, funding, Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man

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