By ‘quoting’ from the film is meant that scenes from the 1945 black-and-white
classic are inserted into the films’ narratives or, in the case of The
History Boys, the last moments of Brief Encounter are acted out by some
film-mad schoolboys. When Lean’s film is being quoted, there is discussion
about which excerpts are inserted into the new film – and just how the
chosen excerpt bears on the rest of the film. This chapter considers the
specific episodes ‘quoted’ in the relevant films, the point in the narrative
of the film concerned at which such episodes are glimpsed on screens large
or small, and how this quotation reflects on the moments of its insertion.
It can even be used for comedy, as in The History Boys or the TV series
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.