The Cinema Authorship of Lindsay Anderson

The principal aim of this project is to evaluate Lindsay Anderson’s claim to the status of authorship by comparing his private thoughts about his work with (a) his public statements about the extent and nature of his achievements; and (b) the way his ideas were received by the various publics to which they were addressed.

The research proposed calls for an approach that compares information gleaned from Anderson’s diaries and other personal papers (including correspondence with friends and colleagues) with an analysis of the way his film projects were received – by producers, professional reviewers and the public. A further aim of the work is to use the knowledge gathered to reflect on the various theoretical ideas of authorship in the cinema proposed in the last half century, and, where appropriate, to offer revisions of them.

To gain these ends, the proposal specifies the compiling of a detailed descriptive index of both the correspondence and the diaries which form part of the Lindsay Anderson Archive, held by the University of Stirling.

Principal investigator
Karl Magee
Start date
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Completion date
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Source material
The Lindsay Anderson Collection provides a unique record of the working career and private life of one of the key figures of British cinema. The collection includes production notes, correspondence, promotional material and photographs relating to all of his films including If.... , This Sporting Life , O Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital; files relating to proposed film projects which were never made; scripts, production notes, correspondence, promotional material and photographs relating to 40 theatre productions directed by Anderson between 1957 - 1992; correspondence with actors, writers and directors including John Gielgud, Richard Harris, Rex Harrison, Malcolm McDowell, Satyajit Ray and Ralph Richardson; office files relating to day-to-day business including invitations to film festivals, interviews, disputes with the British Film Institute and management of The Royal Court Theatre. As well as this extensive record of Anderson's career a large amount of personal material collected and kept by Anderson is also present. This includes Anderson's diaries (kept irregularly between 1942 - 1992); photographs of family and friends and visits to various countries; memorabilia collected by Anderson during his childhood, schooldays, military service and adult life; and awards and gifts. The collection also includes several thousand of Anderson's books (mainly relating to film and theatre). For further information see:

Magee, Karl. "Hooray for Hollywood? The unmade films of Lindsay Anderson." In Sights Unseen, edited by D. North, 121-140. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008.