‘The sun never sets’
Music for imperial films
in Imperialism and music
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The imperial melodramas which were a staple of the Victorian and the Edwardian stage were transferred largely intact to the silent cinema. The stage melodrama had orchestral accompaniment, with music signalling the entrance of characters, providing interludes and emphasizing dramatic climaxes. Music played an important part in the cycle of imperial films that began in anti- British films in 1935 with the enormous box office success, both in America and Britain, of Paramount Pictures' Lives of a Bengal Lancer. The use of Tennyson in Charge is paralleled in Lives of a Bengal Lancer. John Ford was a professional Irishman who made a trio of anti- British films about the imperial oppression of Ireland. Wee Willie Winkie was the first of a 20th Century-Fox trilogy of imperial films starring Shirley Temple, a significant fact in promoting imperial sentiment. The Second World War ended the imperial film cycle in Britain and America.

Imperialism and music

Britain 1876–1953


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