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Free Cinema 6

The final Free Cinema programme in March 1959

Main image of Free Cinema 6

After the foreign detours of Free Cinema 4 and 5, the organising committee took the opportunity to show their latest creations at the National Film Theatre once again. Free Cinema 6 was subtitled 'The Last Free Cinema', and sure enough proved to be the end of the series. It was screened between 18-22 March 1959, just over three years after the first programme.

Karel Reisz's We Are the Lambeth Boys (1959), following a group of youngsters around a youth club in Kennington, was funded by the Ford Motor Co., while Robert Vas' Refuge England (1959) - the story of a Hungarian refugee's first day in London - and Michael Grigsby's Enginemen (1959), about work in a locomotive shed on a winter morning, were sponsored by the BFI Experimental Film Fund. Only Elizabeth Russell's Food for a Blush (1959) - of which two extracts were shown in the programme - was self-financed. Each of the films described the lives of ordinary people with the respect and affection typical of Free Cinema.

Press reviews praised all of the films, and regretted Free Cinema's passing, but by now its key players had already moved on. Tony Richardson had set up his own production company Woodfall with playwright John Osborne, while Lindsay Anderson was directing at the Royal Court theatre and Reisz was soon to leave Ford to direct his first feature, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960).

Christophe Dupin

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Enginemen (1959)Enginemen (1959)

Manchester railway workers discuss the end of the steam age.

Thumbnail image of Food for a Blush (1959)Food for a Blush (1959)

Surreal exploration of mid-1950s Chelsea bohemia

Thumbnail image of Refuge England (1959)Refuge England (1959)

Moving film about a Hungarian refugee's first day in London

Thumbnail image of We are the Lambeth Boys (1959)We are the Lambeth Boys (1959)

Free cinema documentary about South London teenagers

Related Collections

Thumbnail image of Free CinemaFree Cinema

Groundbreaking documentary movement of the late 1950s

Related People and Organisations

Thumbnail image of Vas, Robert (1931-1978)Vas, Robert (1931-1978)