Penelope Houston, British film critic, Died at 88

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Penelope Houston was born on September 9, 1927, and died on October 26, 2015.

Penelope was a British film critic and journal editor.

She edited Sight & Sound for almost 35 years.

In 1947 Penelope was the first editor of the short-lived film journal Sequence founded by Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz and Gavin Lambert at Oxford University, where she read English at Somerville College.

In 1950, Penelope joined Sight & Sound, the journal of the British Film Institute, as Lambert’s assistant.

During this early period, she was involved around 1952 with initiating the feature for which the magazine remains best known, the critics’ decade poll for the best films ever made.

Penelope became the editor of Sight & Sound, then a quarterly journal, in 1956 after Lambert departed for a career as a Hollywood screenwriter, and remained in the post until 1990.

At the same time, she was a regular contributor to the Monthly Film Bulletin for many years until the mid-1970s.

The two magazines merged shortly after Houston retired.

Penelope also had a period as a film critic for The Spectator, deputised for The Times critic and for The Observer as C. A. Lejeune’s deputy in 1957.

She also wrote for The Observer and, occasionally, for The Guardian.

Penelope was the author of several books on cinema, including The Contemporary Cinema (1963) and Keepers of the Frame: Film Archives (1994).

She also wrote a short book on Alberto Cavalcanti’s Went the Day Well? (1942).

Penelope passed away at age 88 in October 2015.

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