Post-war films 1 – genre and British cinema
in Anthony Asquith
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This chapter sheds light on the post-war British film industry and the turn Asquith's career took during these times. He was well established as one of the British cinema's leading directors on the basis of a diverse output: the middlebrow drama adaptations of Shaw and Rattigan, lowbrow genre films including a comedy thriller and a costume melodrama, patriotic war pictures and documentary dramas. Asquith resumed his directing career with While the Sun Shines (1947), and his next film, The Winslow Boy (1948), was a Rattigan adaptation in which he corraborated with Korda's revived London Films and British Lion. The Importance of Being Earnest, a version of Oscar Wilde's famous play from the 1890s, was his first film in colour. Asquith's genre exercises from the early 1950s, though containing much of interest – innovatory narrative structures, imaginative mise-enscène, lyricism, and poetry, the radical ideological questioning of war – remain little-known films on the periphery of the mainstream British cinema of the time.

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