Cinemagoing in wartime
in Cinemas and cinemagoing in wartime Britain, 1939–45
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What did the cinema mean to people in wartime Britain? How did the community make use of the cinema and what did they expect it to do for them? These questions form the basis of the final chapter of the book. Looking at the cinema’s position as a source of entertainment, and emotional facilitator (especially in the ways in which cinemagoers made use of popular melodramas and documentary-realist feature films) and as a collective experience, the chapter argues that there is no single way of conceptualising the cinema in this period. Rather, there were competing or complementary narratives that altered in response to the needs of the individual patron and the changing fortunes of the war. Using ‘escapism’ as a framework through which to discuss cinemagoing in wartime, the chapter asks if the cinema operated in such terms, and, indeed, whether or not patrons and audiences wanted it to.

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