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Über dieses Buch

Analyzing a selection of popular British films and stars of post-WWII Britain, Boyce considers the profound anxieties and uncertainties the war had on British life and culture.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction: Don’t Mention the War

Introduction: Don’t Mention the War

Abstract
The teenaged protagonists of Charles Crichton’s Hue and Cry (1947), the first of the celebrated Ealing comedies, spend time in the rubble of the bombed-out buildings in their neighborhood. This is their refuge from the monotony of home life and school. Male and female children from different classes and backgrounds meet in this separate and secure society, which Charles Barr calls “a sub-system of their own.”1 One boy does not speak at all; he only mimics the sound of the bombs falling and exploding. These characteristics have nothing to do with the plot of the film, which concerns these young people battling gangsters who are using a popular comic to pass secret messages about their criminal activities. The details are simply present. There is no direct mention of the war in Hue and Cry, yet the evidence of the war pervades the film.
Michael W. Boyce

Gender

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Power of Choice: Complicating Traditional Female Identity

Abstract
At the end of Compton Bennett’s The Seventh Veil (1945), Francesca Cunningham (Ann Todd), having been cured of her neurosis, is given the power by her psychoanalyst to choose among her three potential suitors. This act of choosing potentially empowers Francesca to leave the manipulative, abusive relationship with her cousin and guardian, Nicholas (James Mason), and embrace with affection either an American jazz musician (Hugh McDermott) or a German portrait painter (Albert Lieven). Though she has struggled to free herself from her guardian’s control throughout the film, when presented with the authority of choice, Francesca opts to return to Nicholas, the only family she knows.
Michael W. Boyce

Chapter 2. British Masculinities: Duty, Confinement, and Stiff Upper Lips

Abstract
In terms of identifying masculine identities in British film, little critical attention has been given to either Michael Redgrave or Alec Guinness. As with representations of female identities in British film of this period, a disproportionate amount of attention has been given to the lavish Gainsborough costume dramas, and, in particular, their most popular star, James Mason. Mason’s roles in The Man in Grey (1943) and Fanny by Gaslight (1944) established him as a sex symbol and set the tone for future roles that “converted the traditional villain of stage melodrama—dark, menacing, deep voiced—into a Byronic figure, often cruel and vindictive but also thrilling, fascinating and highly erotic.”1
Michael W. Boyce

Genre

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. Toward a Reading of British Film Noir: Expatriates and Ancient Cities

Abstract
In Film Noir, Mark Bould describes the lack of critical attention to the peripheral offshoots of film noir:
[O]utside of the main period of American film noir the terrain is still lacking any kind of consensus. There is still work to be done on film noir before noir, film noirs after film noir and film noirs in other national, linguistic and international contexts … Questions of omissions and additions inevitably return to questions of definition, and any attempt at definition restructures the genre, drawing in or casting out particular titles. It is through such complex feedback processes that genres form and reform.1
Michael W. Boyce

Reframing National Narratives

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Adapting Shakespeare: Once More unto the Breach

Abstract
Laurence Olivier’s Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), and Richard III (1955) stand as examples of quality British cinema and are generally considered the first remarkable achievement in sound era Shakespearean adaptations. After several Hollywood attempts to adapt Shakespeare, Olivier created inventive and imaginative Shakespeare films that were popular with audiences and critics.1 Olivier brought to these productions both his experience at the Old Vic where had he developed these roles and established himself as the preeminent Shakespearean actor of his generation2 and his experience working in Hollywood with directors like William Wyler and Alfred Hitchcock.
Michael W. Boyce

Chapter 5. Adapting Dickens: Orphans, Parents, and Postwar Britain

Abstract
In his 1944 essayDickens, Griffith and Film Today” Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein declared the Dickensian novel to be especially cinematic because of “Dickens’s creation of an extraordinary plasticity. The observation in the novels is extraordinary—as is their optical quality. The characters of Dickens are rounded with means as plastic and slightly exaggerated as are the screen heroes of today.”1
Michael W. Boyce

Conclusions: Going Home

Abstract
In 2009, I was invited to present some of my work at a lecture series organized by a friend and colleague. The talk went well, I think, but it was the question period that followed that I recall most fondly. An elderly lady raised her hand and thanked me for my presentation. The slight trace of a British accent made me suspect where her question might be heading.
Michael W. Boyce

Backmatter

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