Bill Douglas

Bill Douglas Trailers

Bill Douglas: Intent on Getting the Image TrailerSleepwalker TrailerWorking Surface: A Short Study (with Actors) in the 'Ways' of a Bourgeois Writer Trailer

William Gerald Forbes (Bill) Douglas was a Scottish film director best known for the trilogy of films about his early life. Having been interested in film-making all his life, in 1968 Douglas enrolled at the London International Film School, where he wrote the screenplay for a short autobiographical film called Jamie. After initial difficulties in finding support for the project, he eventually found a champion at the British Film Institute in the newly appointed head of Production, Mamoun Hassan, who secured funding on the basis that Jamie should form part one of a trilogy – echoing the great childhood trilogies of Ray and Gorki. The film was renamed "My Childhood", and its success on the international festival circuit paved the way for the second and third instalments of the trilogy of Douglas's formative years: My Ain Folk (1973) and My Way Home (1978). The Bill Douglas Trilogy recounts the harrowing experiences of a young boy, Jamie, growing up in crippling poverty: material and emotional impoverishment; terrible privations at the hands of his paternal grandmother; incarceration in a children’s home; living in a hostel for down-and-outs. Eventually the call-up for national service allows Jamie to find freedom through his friendship with Robert, a young middle class Englishman who introduces him to books and the possibility of a more optimistic and fulfilling future. The austere black and white images of the films embody a stillness and intensity reminiscent of silent cinema and this visual style is augmented by the equally spare and precise use of sound. Just as the stillness of the image forces the audience to look, so the relative silence encourages greater attention to specific sounds – boots scraping on asphalt, the chirping of birds and the timbre of voices – granting an emotional power lost in the aural bombardment characterising much contemporary cinema. The Trilogy gained a wealth of critical plaudits but Douglas struggled to raise financing for his next project, and was forced to find other ways of earning a living. Mamoun Hassan, the former head of BFI Production, invited him to teach at the National Film and Television School from 1978 and he proved to be an inspiring presence. Hassan was also able, in his role as director of the National Film Finance Corporation to help realise the project of Comrades, Douglas's film about the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs', six Dorset farm labourers who in 1834 were arrested and tried for forming a trade union and subsequently transported to Australia. Even so, the film did not appear until 1986, six years after the screenplay had been completed. Dubbed a 'poor man's epic', Comrades continues Douglas's interest in the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of material adversity. It also brings to the fore his fascination with the world of optics and image-making, through a number of references to various forms of Victorian optical entertainments such as the magic lantern, thezoetrope, the peep show and the camera obscura. The story itself is mediated by the character of an itinerant magic lanternist who reappears in a number of roles. Comrades was to be Bill Douglas's last film. He died of cancer and is buried in the churchyard of Bishop's Tawton in Devon.

Most Popular Bill Douglas Trailers

Total trailers found: 9

Home and Away Trailer (1974)

02 January 1974

Comrades Trailer (1987)

23 August 1987

The story of "The Tolpuddle Martyrs". A group of 19th century English farm labourers who formed one of the first trade unions and started a campaign to receive fair wages.

My Ain Folk Trailer (1973)

01 December 1973

When Jamie's maternal grandmother dies, he and his brother Tommy are separated - Tommy is taken off to a welfare home and Jamie goes to live with his other grandmother and uncle.

Working Surface: A Short Study (with Actors) in the 'Ways' of a Bourgeois Writer Trailer (1979)

07 January 1979

Bill Douglas plays a writer struggling with a script about the interior lives of two women (played by Joanna David and Heather Page).

My Childhood Trailer (1972)

05 June 1972

The first part of Bill Douglas' influential trilogy harks back to his impoverished upbringing in early-'40s Scotland.

Sleepwalker Trailer (1984)

05 July 1984

Saxon Logan's extraordinary 49 minute featurette pitches four people into a class war situation with a vicious sting in the tale.

Bill Douglas: Intent on Getting the Image Trailer (2006)

18 June 2006

My Way Home Trailer (1978)

01 November 1978

Jamie leaves the children's home to live with his paternal grandmother. After working in a mine and in a tailor's shop, he is conscripted into the RAF, and goes to Egypt, where he is befriended by Robert, whose undemanding companionship releases Jamie from self-pity.

Come Dancing Trailer (1970)

05 December 1970