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Author: Brian McFarlane

Brian McFarlane’s The never-ending Brief Encounter is above all a book intended for those who have seen and never forgotten the famous 1945 film in which two decent, middle-class people meet by chance, unexpectedly fall in love, but in the end acknowledge the claims of others. The book grew out of an article, the writing of which revealed that there was so much more to the after-life of the film than the author had realised. This book examines David Lean’s film in sufficient detail to bring its key situations vividly to life, and to give an understanding of how it reworks Nöel Coward’s somewhat static one-act play to profound effect. It also examines the ways in which the ‘comic relief’ is made to work towards the poignant ending. However, the main purpose of the book is to consider the remarkable after-life the film has given rise to. The most specific examples of this phenomenon are, of course, the appalling film remake with its miscast stars, and the later stage versions – both bearing the original title and attracting well-known players and positive audience and critical response – and an opera! As well, there are films and TV series which have ‘quoted’ the film (usually via black-and-white inserts) as commentary on the action of the film or series. There are many other films that, without direct quotation, seem clearly to be echoing their famous predecessor; for example, in the haunting visual quality of a deserted railway platform.

Middle-class identity and documentary film
Thomas Austin

5 Approaching the invisible centre: middle-class identity and documentary film So far in this book I have considered various engagements with screen documentary made by viewers other than myself. In this chapter I turn attention to some of my own responses to documentary films, and explore how my identity, particularly its middleclass aspect, has shaped these reactions. The purpose behind this move is not to wallow in narcissism, nor to ‘restore’ a middleclass, white and male subjectivity to the centre stage of film and media studies – if it has ever been truly

in Watching the world
Philip Gillett

are evident in films about service life, though differences in rank receive surprisingly little emphasis once individuals are socialised into the institution by initial training. In spite of this, distinctions are implicit in the convention that those who give the orders are upper or middle class, as They Were Not Divided (d. Terence Young, 1950) illustrates, with NCOs occupying an ambiguous supervisory role. On the

in The British working class in postwar film
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The treatment of the young offender
Philip Gillett

Viewed from this middle-class perspective, relative deprivation, aided and abetted by the mass media, fuels working-class crime. The conundrum is that the ideal solution would be to eliminate deprivation, reducing the relative advantages of being middle class in the process. This is unlikely to tempt a middle-class electorate seeking a reduction in crime. The mass media make an easier scapegoat. Working-class youth presents a

in The British working class in postwar film
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The postwar child in films
Philip Gillett

enforced mingling of the classes (including the appearance of middle-class patients in public assistance institutions after air raids) led to a greater awareness of social inequalities and the inadequacies of welfare provision. 2 The response was a shift to centrally financed services which included school dinners (provided for one in thirty children in 1940, but one in three by 1945), free school milk, National dried milk for babies

in The British working class in postwar film
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Transitioning from film to digital
Ben Lamb

explores how each series uses horror-film conventions to depict perceived threats to society, including the underclass of Prime Suspect , middle-class femininity in Frost , and Cracker ’s working-class ‘masculinity in crisis’. Next, the sombreness pervading the private lives of detectives is explored to deduce how each series’ presentation of civilian life engages with notable socio

in You’re nicked
Etre et avoir
Thomas Austin

2 Seeing, feeling, knowing: Etre et avoir This chapter draws on a small study conducted in July 2003, using questionnaires submitted by self-selected and largely middle-class cinemagoers who watched the French documentary Etre et avoir (2003) at an arthouse cinema in Brighton, England. My initial vectors of inquiry were cinemagoers’ operative generic assumptions about documentary (which Etre et avoir was seen to either fulfil or to refuse), and their perspectives on issues of veracity and the so-called crisis over trust and the essential truth claims of the mode

in Watching the world
Stuart Hanson

the burgeoning suburban middle class and in particular housewives, who attended the new matinées. With some four million new semi-detached, suburban houses built in the inter-war years, Deutsch’s appreciation of this new audience was acute. Jackson observed that ‘few suburbs were too select to manage without a cinema’ and that as houses were built and new communities created, the cinemas came ‘often enough before the

in From silent screen to multi-screen
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Consumer culture’s killer instinct and the imperial imperative
Hilary Ann Radner

product usage and consumption; the creation of a new middle-class couple; the re-articulation of the social body as quantifiable and anonymous, as opposed to a collectivity of individuals with specific rights; and, finally, the suppression of France’s imperial past in favour of the new demographic state. Though these same themes (preserved through the 1970s and 1980s) are reiterated in Nikita (Besson

in The films of Luc Besson
John le Carré’s A Perfect Spy and the treachery of Kim Philby
Jonathan Bolton

Like Philby, le Carré came from an upper-middle-class home, had an unconventional and erratic father, was separated at a young age from his biological mother and was sent off prematurely to boarding school. He and Philby also attended similar public schools (le Carré went to Sherborne, Philby to Winchester), matriculated at an ancient university, and were recruited into intelligence services at an impressionable age. Le Carré's politics, likewise, veered to the left, and he harbored the same resentments that Philby held against class privilege and the snobbery

in The Blunt Affair