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Pinter, authorship and entrepreneurship in 1960s British cinema: the economics of "The Quiller Memorandum"

Bignell, J. ORCID: (2020) Pinter, authorship and entrepreneurship in 1960s British cinema: the economics of "The Quiller Memorandum". Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, 40 (3). pp. 533-550. ISSN 1465-3451

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01439685.2020.1778316


This article uses original historical sources to evaluate how Harold Pinter’s screenwriting for the film The Quiller Memorandum (1966) operated in the business context of film production in Britain. In the mid-1960s British cinema both claimed forms of national distinctiveness and also sought internationalization by drawing on financial and creative resources from both continental Europe and the USA. The Pinter ‘brand’, choices of cast and production personnel, and links with the ascendant spy genre of the period are argued to be aspects of a business risk reduction strategy, mitigating against such risks as working on location in Berlin and expectations set from a distance by US investors, leading to the constant requirement for budgetary management during production. These forces can be regarded as interactions between the film production company as an entrepreneurial organization, the contingent role of brands as repositories of value, and the relatively stable structures of corporate investment by large firms like Rank in the UK and National General Productions in the USA. The article draws on materials in the British Library’s Pinter Archive and the Film Finance Archive.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:85670
Uncontrolled Keywords:Harold Pinter; screenplay; film; production; risk; brand
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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