features of the British cinema industry that resonate to this day. In 1913 the cinema industry established the British Board of Film Censors in response to concerted criticism of the cinema’s influence on public taste. The First World War and the associated conflicts in Europe saw the hegemony of US films established and consolidated in the post-war period through the establishment of the vertically integrated Hollywood studio
, though the irony in the nationalistic and jingoistic approach was that the increase was achieved largely on the back of a number of major Hollywood releases such as Ghostbusters (1984) and Back to the Future (1985). Sight and Sound went as far as to suggest that British cinema managers ‘ought to be giving all their thanks to Steven Spielberg and a few of his colleagues’ for the increase in admissions. 44 Much of the smaller
of staff On the appearance and disappearance of staff constituted problems that posed considerable difficulties to British cinemas during the war. Soldiers, civilians, tramps and generals In A Canterbury Tale (1944), a sinister figure known as the Glue Man attacks women in the Kentish village of Chillingbourne, pouring glue in their hair in an attempt to stop them associating with the soldiers stationed in the area. Alison Smith (Sheila Sim), assaulted on her first night in Chillingbourne, seeks to uncover the identity of the Glue Man, whom she – and the
spectacle’.8 As a description, this seems to capture some of the Forlorn and bedraggled spectacles horrors brought to bear on British cinemas by aerial bombardment, and some of the ways in which the cinema, so frequently described as a site of escape, proved itself unable to break free of the war’s orbit. Many cinemas suffered only superficial damage, but even this was enough to change the appearance of the pre-war dream palace, especially as materials essential for making-good were often in short supply and directed to projects deemed to be more immediate and
substantial amounts of money. Although the Home Office disputed the fabulous sums bandied about by the CEA, it found it harder to dismiss the Association’s assertion that thousands of employees might need to be laid off if the prospect of reopening was not forthcoming.22 British cinemas were permitted to ‘follow in the proud footsteps of Aberystwyth’23 only after a period marked by what Kinematograph Weekly described as ‘delay and confusion’, with the process complicated by the workings of the Home Office’s own initial scheme for closure.24 The Home Office plan had
(1936), he celebrates the Catholic Scottish Queen Mary as a martyr to Protestant and English imperialism and intolerance. The Hurricane (1937), though ostensibly about a South Sea island under French rule, is a deeply felt indictment of colonial rule and by implication, British imperialism, with the island of Manikura functioning as a substitute Ireland. The British cinema’s
The utility dream palace is a cultural history of cinemagoing and the cinema exhibition industry in Britain during the Second World War, a period of massive audiences in which vast swathes of the British population went to the pictures on a regular basis. Yet for all that wartime films have received a great deal of academic attention, and have been discussed in terms of the escapist pleasures they offered, the experiential pleasures offered by the cinemas in which such films were watched were inextricably connected to the places and times in which they operated. British cinemas – and the people who worked in, owned and visited them – were acutely sensitive to their spatial and temporal locations, unable to escape the war and intimately bound up in and contributing to the public’s experience of it. Combining oral history, extensive archival research, and a wealth of material gathered from contemporary trade papers, fan magazines and newspapers, this book is the first to provide a comprehensive analysis of both the cinema’s position in wartime society, and the impact that the war had on the cinema as a social practice. Dealing with subjects as diverse as the blackout, the blitz, evacuation, advertising, staffing and conscription, Entertainments Tax, showmanship and clothes rationing, The utility dream palace asserts that the cinema was, for many people, a central feature of wartime life, and argues that the history of British cinemas and cinemagoing between 1939 and 1945 is, in many ways, the history of wartime Britain.
grouped together under a series of headings to help you think about the different sorts of materials you may be using within your research. It is less about distinguishing between primary and secondary sources, or digital and print resources, or film journals and industry magazines but instead is a broad survey of the types of resources which exist. While the focus of this work has predominantly been on British cinema, this chapter will also include sources of information which relate more generally to the moving image. While such a survey cannot possibly hope to be
The exhibition of films has developed from a lowly fairground attraction in the 1890s to the multi-million pound industry of today. This book charts the development of cinema exhibition and cinema-going in Britain from the first public film screening in February 1896 through to the opening of 30-screen 'megaplexes'. It recounts the beginnings of cinema and in particular its rapid development, by the eve of the Great War, as the pre-eminent mass entertainment. The book considers developments of cinema as an independent entertainment, the positioning of cinemas within the burgeoning metropolitan spaces, the associated search for artistic respectability, the coming of sound and a large-scale audience. The period from 1913 to 1930 was one in which the cinema industry underwent dramatic restructuring, new chains, and when Hollywood substantially increased its presence in British cinemas. Cinema-going is then critically analysed in the context of two powerful myths; the 'Golden Age' and the 'universal audience'. The book also considers the state of cinema exhibition in Britain in the post-war period, and the terminal decline of cinema-going from the 1960s until 1984. It looks at the development of the multiplex in the United States from the 1960s and examines the importance of the shopping mall and the suburb as the main focus for these cinema developments. Finally, the book discusses the extent to which the multiplex 'experience' accounts for the increase in overall attendance; and how developments in the marketing of films have run in tandem with developments in the cinema.
, but also because it effectively emptied cinemas until the close of the year’. The abdication was clearly a unique moment in the history of the British cinema, but the Association used it to draw wider-reaching conclusions: Every national event has a reaction upon the cinema, so largely does it enter into the lives of the people. When an event of this kind happens that absorbs the interest of the people, it does so outside cinemas and it is almost impossible to persuade them to maintain their regular attendances.11 This was no less true during the war, a ‘national