Pastoral images
Capturing ‘A Landscape from Within’
in Picturing home
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This chapter explores the influence of rural imagery on the depiction of the home in 1940s films. With the interwar expansion of the suburbs, domestic life was promoted with an emphasis on idyllic, pastoral settings. The designs of new suburban homes presented a middle ground between a mythical, rural past and a transformed, modern future. Contemporary advertisements and aspirational home magazines such as Ideal Home, Homes and Gardens and My Home often framed domestic life in relation to rural landscapes. Through reference to this popular print culture – including magazines, furniture catalogues and colour books – this chapter extends current understanding of rural imagery in British film and culture by exploring two films that frame domestic life as a pastoral image. It focuses on This Happy Breed (David Lean, 1945), which constructs a family home in Clapham as a symbol of national consensus, and The Captive Heart (Basil Dearden, 1946), a postwar film set in the temporary homes and gardens of a prisoner of war camp. Focusing on colour and framing, the chapter re-contextualises the depiction of domestic life in these films with reference to interwar modes of address negotiating a rural past simultaneously with a vision of future homes and communities.

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