Tom Ryall
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Wartime British cinema
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This chapter explores the films directed by Asquith during the Second World War. French Without Tears was released late in 1939, a few months after the outbreak of the war, but the film showed no trace of the turbulent context into which it was released. However, it was not long before Asquith threw himself into the war effort and started making films that drew directly on the war. Freedom Radio (1940), his first war-related film, was a large-scale production made for the Two Cities company. Asquith's next film – Quiet Wedding (1940) – was for the Paramount company and was a box-office success. In 1941, Asquith rejoined Gaumont-British and directed three war films: Cottage to Let (1941), Uncensored (1942) and We Dive at Dawn (1943). He returned to Two Cities, where he directed two war pictures: The Demi-Paradise (1943) and The Way to the Stars (1945). In common with many directors of the time, Asquith also made a number of propaganda documentary dramas for the Ministry of Information.

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