‘’Mid pleasures and palaces’
in Picturing home
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The introduction establishes the book’s focus on depictions of domestic life in 1940s feature films and their engagement with trends in prewar culture – with particular reference to The First of the Few (Leslie Howard, 1942). Across a number of disciplines, explorations of interwar middlebrow fiction and culture, interior design, women’s magazines, the domestic everyday and femininity, have highlighted a distinctive construction, and experience, of modernity: centred on the home, privileging connections to the past, and exemplified by suburbia. Structured in three sections, this introduction outlines the book’s re-contextualising of 1940s British films as part of this field of study and introduces its approach to exploring the relationship between the visual style of British 1940s films and their wider cultural context: it suggests how this research builds on studies of British cinema analysing the relationship between film aesthetics and extra-cinematic culture; it sets out the historical context for the development of ideas surrounding domestic life and modernity during the interwar years; and it introduces the four visual modes of address analysed in depth in the book’s chapters.


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