The rise of the Angry Young Men
in Screening the Hollywood rebels in 1950s Britain
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The book’s in-depth analysis of six case studies, comparisons to other British and Hollywood films on similar themes, demonstrates the currency of juvenile delinquency during a period of intense media interest in the teenager. In its wider application, the book offers a British history of several iconic Hollywood stars: Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis Presley. By exploring their influences and impact on British fans and their disruption to British culture, the book historicises the discourses of Americanisation and teenage consumerism. The conclusion explores some of the legacies of the Hollywood rebel trope, and argues for the ways in which elements and motifs were assimilated into New Wave cinema with representations of Angry Young Men, as a popular and emergent British masculinity (Albert Finney in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, for example). The chapter also extends previous arguments that Elvis Presley’s success as a rock ’n’ roll rebel offered a ‘blueprint’ of fame, forming the basis of many imitative careers, including those of Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard, each hailed as ‘the British Elvis Presley’. The epilogue argues for the cross-cultural exchange that followed Presley’s career and star meanings in Britain (his impoverished childhood, his spectacular success, the degenerative effects of rock ’n’ roll) and the Beatlemania that pervaded American popular culture in 1961. Spearheading the British invasion, the Beatles, with their proletarian origins and rebellious iconography (their irreverent interview style and ‘mop tops’, for example) confronted American conservativism and generated discourses of cultural protectionism.


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