Ireland, the Empire and film
in ‘An Irish Empire’?
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The imperial dimension is a vital element in the construction and evaluation of the Irish character. In cinematic terms, the image of Ireland has been largely in the hands of the British and American film industries. For Ireland experienced on an even greater scale the problems Britain faced in seeking to establish a native film industry: chronic under-investment, technical backwardness and the overwhelming dominance world-wide of Hollywood. Sheridan Gilley argues that the principal opposition to the Irish was due to a view of their nationalism as narrow and parochial against the supranationalism of the British Empire. There has been cultural continuity between the Ireland projected in the stage melodramas, popular ballads and novels, and the Ireland of the cinema. The British cinema's equivalent of Ford as a director returning regularly to Irish themes is Brian Desmond Hurst.

‘An Irish Empire’?

Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire

Editor: Keith Jeffery

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