Continuing my list of the fifty Greatest British Cult Movies, here is my selection from 30 -21:
30. THE BELLES OF ST TRINIAN’S Frank Launder (1954)
The first and best of the five movies in the series based on the cartoons of Ronald Searle. There are great comic turns by Alistair Sim (in two roles as headmistress and her scheming brother), Joyce Grenfell (as the games teacher) and George Cole (as Flash Harry). This, plus numerous assorted nubiles in gymslips – what’s not to like?
29. GOLDFINGER Terence Young (1964)
You can’t have a list like this without a Bond movie and it has to be one with Sean Connery as 007. Goldfinger is my favourite because it has the best villains Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) and Oddjob (Harold Sakata) , great Bond girls Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) and Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) as well as having the usual ridiculous action scenes.
28. ESCALIBUR John Boorman (1981)
This has its critics but Boorman highlights the romance and visual splendour of the King Arthur legend . It boasts a stellar cast which includes Helen Mirren as a sexy Morgana and Nicol Williamson as an enigmatic Merlin.
27. ORPHANS Peter Mullan (1983)
Mullan’s underrated debut is an irreverent jet black comedy about grief in which four rival siblings squabble after their mother’s funeral. It was well summarised by The Guardian as “a fantastic mix of the kitchen sink drama with the surreal”.
26. YOUNG ADAM David Mackenzie (2004)
Cult novels don’t always translate into cult movies but this is an exception that proves the rule. Based on a 1954 novel of the same title by Alexander Trocchi, Ewan McGregor gives a fine performance as a drifter with a secret. Plenty of seedy sex and existential angst. Great soundtrack too by David Byrne rediscovering his Scottish roots.
25. RATCATCHER Lynne Ramsey (1999)
A remarkable debut movie which manages to draw something poetic from stark images of death, poverty and urban decay. Set during a strike by garbage men in Glasgow in 1973, it follows the misfortunes of a 12 year boy under the tagline: “Have you ever tried running away from growing up”.
24. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP Banksy (2010)
An hilarious mockumentary about a piss artist’s discovery of street art in which Banksy keeps his anonymity and Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) gets his fifteen minutes of fame.
23. 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE Michael Winterbottom (2002)
Steve Coogan plays maverick Factory Label boss Tony Wilson in a movie that plays fast and loose with the facts but does a great job of capturing the spirit 1980s Madchester music scene.
22. THE DRAUGHTMAN’S CONTRACT Peter Greenaway (1982)
A visual treat enhanced by a memorable score by Michael Nyman. Set in the 17th century, it is a post-modern cinematic romp built around a bizarre murder mystery. A morally ambiguous and self consciously arty tale of an oversexed architect at work and play.
21. BRAZIL Terry Gilliam (1985)
Gilliam was actually born in Minnesota but became a British citizen in 1968 and the cast for this movie are mainly Brits with the notable exception of Robert De Niro who is mainly hidden beneath a balaclava. A wild futuristic dystopian fantasy that is like a Kafkaesque version of Orwell’s 1984.