In the early-to mid-1960s generally there were five Brit publications – Sight & Sound (quarterly), Monthly Film Bulletin, Movie, Continental Film Review and Films and Filming. Very occasionally there were copies to be found of publications put out under the rubric of Motion but they were hard to track down. Films and Filming was part of a set of seven publications (Books and Bookmen, Music and Musicians, etc) and generally had the raciest prose, written by a set of writers, though not one that operated as a group as far as could be seen. The raciest pictures were in Continental Film Review.
The management of this part of McGills’ shop was in the hands of a young man named Mervyn Binns. He was a conservative dresser who wore a grey knee length dustcoat fastened by a belt. He had an oval face, slicked his hair straight back, held it there with brilliantine and wore thick-lensed glasses. When he left the shop at 5.30 pm at night he wore a hat. He seemed a very dour figure, though later with another far more extroverted man named Paul Stephens he had this act where the pair of them would dress up as vampires and hire themselves out at horror film premieres. One night when Stephens hid himself in the male toilet at interval and leapt out upon the arrival of the first patron, the punter complained to the management that he “nearly had a heart attack”.
Melbourne University Film Society fed off the Brit magazines like the little fish that live in the big fish’s mouth. Many programmes were selected according to the taste-making of that far away London film scene. New magazine issues were flashed around mostly amongst a small inner circle and a consensus formed in favour of the agenda set by Movie. ....
Just to set a scene. The rest can be found here at Senses of Cinema.
In 1965 Sarris consolidated his place in the pantheon by publishing “The American Cinema” a compendium of short critical essays on dozens of key figures, using a set of categories that have survived to this day as shorthand for assessing any particular director’s place in the scheme of things.
The book also had endless pages devoted to lists and quality assessments. For the young and immature it was like the first step into Chartres.