Picturing home

Author: Hollie Price

This book explores the depiction of domestic life in British films made and released during the Second World War and the immediate postwar years. It closely examines the modes of address used to picture home in a selection of feature films including Love on the Dole, It Always Rains on Sunday, This Happy Breed, The Captive Heart, Spring in Park Lane, The Glass Mountain, Brief Encounter and The Small Back Room. Exemplary of popular modes of address shaping onscreen homes in this period, these films encompass realist mappings of industrial working-class homes, domestic landscapes infused with pastoral imagery, dream palaces offering escape and uncanny homes characterised by interiority and introspection. Picturing home explores how such depictions of domestic life engaged with modes of address established during the interwar years. These modes featured in Picture Post magazine’s photo-essays, illustrations of peaceful domestic interiors in Ideal Home magazine, displays at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, advertisements for modern furnishings and fittings, and in women’s magazine stories – all of which conveyed ideas of conservative, domestic and suburban culture and modernity. Through a close analysis of the films in question and of extra-cinematic culture surrounding the suburban home, this book offers a new reading of British films in the 1940s as reimagining interwar visions of modernity, and, as such, looking to the prewar past while also laying claim to the postwar future.

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