Going up in the world
Goodbye to the working class
in The British working class in postwar film
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Class position is crucial in two Boulting brothers films, though neither does much to illuminate social mobility in postwar days. Fame is the Spur charts the rise of Hamer Radshaw from child of the Manchester slums to Labour cabinet minister. In achieving his ambition, he is distanced from the people whose cause he championed. The other Boulting film is The Guinea Pig in which tobacconist's son attends a public school. The strategy was not to improve the former, but to fund placement of children from less affluent backgrounds in fee-paying schools. Floodtide is set in Glasgow, though it focuses more explicitly on social mobility. Paternalism and Calvinism permeate the film. The miner in Blue Scar was probably correct in his summing up of British society: people were content to forget his kind because nationalisation should have resolved their grievances.

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