Class, gender, and nation in popular film and fiction in interwar Britain

Popular culture became a crucial aspect of the rising consumer society in the interwar Britain. Romantic exchanges and happy endings were a defining trait of bestselling novels and popular films in 1920s and 1930s Britain. This book ties contemporary concerns about ex-soldiers, profiteers, and working and voting women to the heroes, villains and love-interests that occur in several films and novels. It addresses the role of the hero as a character who embodies traits collectively valued by readers and the audience. In books and films like Sorrell and Son, the pre-war masculine role model was re-established as patriotic soldier, breadwinner and pater familias. The male villain is the opposite of this value set, and in works such as Bulldog Drummond, he is concerned with profit and the undermining of the national economy and social well-being. The female love-interest often occupied a fairly dynamic role in bestselling novels and hit films. Women in A Star Is Born and Queen Christina are shown as giving up their careers for love and forsaking wealth and power for love. Villainesses, by contrast, seek wealth, status and power at all costs. Censorship of films by the British Board of Film Censors and of literature by the Home Office in interwar Britain contributed to the construction of a popular narrative formula. Censorship aimed to produce an idealised vision of man's and woman's place within the economy and nation. The troubles of the real world were not to have a significant place in film or fiction.

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Reconstruction and Soldier Settlement in the Empire Between the Wars
Author: Kent Fedorowich

Research on soldier settlement has to be set within the wider history of emigration and immigration. This book examines two parallel but complementary themes: the settlement of British soldiers in the overseas or 'white' dominions, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, between 1915 and 1930. One must place soldier settlement within the larger context of imperial migration prior to 1914 in order to elicit the changes in attitude and policy which occurred after the armistice. The book discusses the changes to Anglo-dominion relations that were consequent upon the incorporation of British ex-service personnel into several overseas soldier settlement programmes, and unravels the responses of the dominion governments to such programmes. For instance, Canadians and Australians complained about the number of ex-imperials who arrived physically unfit and unable to undertake employment of any kind. The First World War made the British government to commit itself to a free passage scheme for its ex-service personnel between 1914 and 1922. The efforts of men such as L. S. Amery who attempted to establish a landed imperial yeomanry overseas is described. Anglicisation was revived in South Africa after the second Anglo-Boer War, and politicisation of the country's soldier settlement was an integral part of the larger debate on British immigration to South Africa. The Australian experience of resettling ex-servicemen on the land after World War I came at a great social and financial cost, and New Zealand's disappointing results demonstrated the nation's vulnerability to outside economic factors.

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Claire Sutherland

[E]very nationalism requires a touchstone of virtue and heroism, to guide and give meaning to the tasks of regeneration . . . Heroes provide models of virtuous conduct, their deeds of valour inspire faith and courage in their oppressed and decadent descendants. (A. D. Smith 1995 , 65) Heroes

in Soldered states
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James Chapman

5 Heritage heroes Robin of Sherwood would be the last major swashbuckling series for two decades: not until the BBC’s Robin Hood in 2006 did the costume adventure return in a weekly series format. While the swashbuckler was no longer a regular feature of the terrestrial television schedules, however, it persisted in the form of one-off, made-for-television films. This trend began in the mid-1970s, when Richard Chamberlain starred in a brace of Alexandre Dumas adaptations for US television – The Count of Monte-Cristo and The Man in the Iron Mask – and then

in Swashbucklers
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The horrors of class in Eric Kripke’s Supernatural
Julia M. Wright

triggered not by economic crisis but by a gothic displacement of it – a supernatural event that propels young boys into an unsafe world where nightmares, and poverty, are real. “Kind of butch”: rejecting Middle America The Winchester brothers, as their popularity on CW and fansites suggest, broadly fill the popular type of hunky heroes who fight the bad and protect the good. They

in Men with stakes
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J.W.M. Hichberger

’s circumvented the problem. The only European artist in India during the revolt was a Swede, Egron Lundgren. Agnew’s purchased hundreds of his sketches and put them at T. J. Barker’s disposal. 7 The result was The Relief of Lucknow , showing the encounter between the three most popular heroes of the campaign, Havelock, Outram and Campbell. Outram and Havelock had become trapped in Lucknow after

in Images of the army
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Censorship, the Home Office, and the BBFC
Christine Grandy

connection between narrative and audience experience and the cumulative impact of narratives stressing the same themes. One of the main jobs of the censor as he or she saw it in 1920s and 1930s Britain was MUP_Grandy_Heroes.indd 177 20/02/2014 11:23 178 Heroes and happy endings to break possible connections between the negative realities of the world and film and fiction narratives. The troubles of the real world were not to have a significant place in film or fiction. Censorship in this period consequently aimed to produce an idealised vision of man’s and woman

in Heroes and happy endings
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Heroes, work, and nation
Christine Grandy

1 A man imagined: heroes, work, and nation For the last three years, ever since his demobilization, life had been to Sorrell like some huge trampling beast, and he – a furtive thing down in the mud, panting, dodging, bewildered, resentful and afraid. Warwick Deeping, Sorrell and Son (1925) O n 30 May 1919, the Daily Express, one of Britain’s largest circulating newspapers, quoted the Prince of Wales saying, ‘I shall never regret my period of service overseas. In those four years I mixed with men. In those four years I found my manhood.’ The article further

in Heroes and happy endings
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The role of popular culture between the wars
Christine Grandy

seemed hollow in such circumstances and ‘depression’ became a familiar term as unemployment figures reached unprecedented heights in the winter of 1920, when two million men were out of work. After that winter the number of unemployed men rarely fell below one million, and reached a MUP_Grandy_Heroes.indd 1 20/02/2014 11:23 2 Heroes and happy endings staggering three million men in 1932.1 Alongside this economic instability was international political uncertainty as the conditions of the Versailles Treaty crumbled, fascism reared its head in Europe, and the

in Heroes and happy endings
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Thoughts on heroes, villains, and love-interests beyond 1939
Christine Grandy

Conclusion: thoughts on heroes, villains, and ­love-interests beyond 1939 T his monograph has highlighted the existence of a persistent ideology about gender, the economy, and the nation within the film and fiction most popular with British audiences between World War I and the outset of World War II. Over and over again, popular film and fiction narratives worked to buttress the role of the male breadwinner and soldier as the centre of the nation and economy. These chapters have charted the multiple paths through which this ideology was shaped: in villainous

in Heroes and happy endings