'They wanted a bigger, more ambitious film': Film finances and the American 'runaways' that ran away

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From the early 1960s, the British film industry was increasingly reliant on American studio financed ‘runaway’ productions. Alexander Walker identifies United Artists and Universal Pictures as two of the major players in the trend he dubbed ‘Hollywood England’. This article offers a close examination of the role of two studios in the financing of British film production by making extensive use of the Film Finances Archive. It focuses on two case studies: Tom Jones (1963) and Isadora (1968), both of which had completion guarantees from Film Finances, and will argue that Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz, two of the key British New Wave directors, lost their previous ability to direct films to budget and within schedule when they had the financial resources of American studios behind them. It will analyse how, due to a combination of ‘artistic’ intent and Hollywood money, Richardson and Reisz separately created two of the most notorious ‘runaways’ that ran away during the 1960s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-197
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Film finances
  • Isadora
  • Karel Reisz
  • Runaway production
  • Tom Jones
  • Tony Richardson
  • United Artists
  • Universal Pictures

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