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Stuart Hanson

The 1930s was a period when the mass media began to develop into the forms that we are familiar with today. This chapter traces the growth of cinema as a mode of mass entertainment, beginning with the early picture palaces and the 'super cinema' developments in the early 1930s. The audience was attracted to watching films along with a newsreel and a cartoon which gave them a respite from the grim reality of life, and the major cinema circuits were anxious to encourage greater attendance amongst the middle classes. The chapter discusses the legislative and other government interventions, notably the Cinematograph Films Act 1927, and highlights the specific concerns regarding the morally corrupting influence of cinema and its effects. It also documents the establishment of the Commission on Educational and Cultural Films and the debates about the role and function of the cinema as a leisure activity.

in From silent screen to multi-screen
Brad Beaven

tremendous advances in mass entertainment from the singing saloons in the 1860s to the Picture Palaces of the 1930s. Undoubtedly, empire was a genre of entertainment that successfully transferred from the stage to the silver screen, ensuring that filmgoers across the country would have been conversant with the epic imperial films of the 1930s. However, one cannot assume that through reading music hall lyrics or a film script we

in Visions of empire
A history of cinema exhibition in Britain since 1896

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.

Memories of childrens cinema-going in London before the First World War
Luke McKernan

Before 1906, there were no dedicated venues for the exhibition of film in London. Five years later, cinemas had spread all over the city, and 200,000 people were attending a film show in the city every day. Many in these first cinema audiences were children. Significantly - indeed probably uniquely for the time - cinema was a mass entertainment deliberated aimed at, and priced within the range of, the young. Decades later, some of these children left memoirs (published or unpublished), or were interviewed by oral historians. This body of evidence on the experience of cinema-going before the First World War has been hitherto ignored by film historians. This essay examines this testimony from London audience members, which is constructed around the various stages of the act of going to the cinema. The testimony demonstrates that the experience and the enjoyment of the social space that the cinema provided were at least as important as the entertainment projected on the screen. The early cinema demands greater recognition for its function as a social sphere, and particularly as a welcoming place for children.

Film Studies
Duy Lap Nguyen

given so much attention and priority to non-Vietnamese writers and writings.”106 The lost period of Vietnamese literature, then, was one in which Vietnamese readers and writers had become less and less interested in their own national literature. v 191 v The unimagined community Because this period was defined by the decline of high culture, and because massentertainment was the distinguishing feature of this phase” (tiêu khiển là một đặc điểm của giai đoạn này),107 the majority of works in translation were of a popular variety: Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Gérard

in The unimagined community
Local contexts, modern customs, visual traditions
Vanesa Rodríguez-Galindo

This chapter discusses representations of social types and customs that appeared in Madrid’s satirical press, illustrated print culture, postcards, short stories, and newspaper articles. Following recent scholarship, it rethinks the genre of visual costumbrismo from a transnational and intercultural perspective, and therefore, moves beyond the assumption that it was an outmoded aesthetic rooted in nostalgia. Stock characters like the seamstress and traditional sites like the city fountain and tren botijo (a third-class excursion train) were reworked to express contemporary concerns through the well-known genre. Despite their conventionalized visual lexicon, these depictions were deeply bound up with changing ideas about urbanisation, gender, social mobility, and the expansion of mass entertainment. Popular social types tapped into the visual memory of readers, who drew connections between familiar aesthetic conventions and present-day concerns. What surfaced in these representations was not an uncomfortable coexistence but rather a dialogue between a number of dualisms, the old and new, the foreign and local, and motifs rooted in costumbrismo and modern media such as photography. The chapter also considers the international visual language of costumbrismo, which varied from setting to setting, and country to country, but had the potential to communicate on local issues in a similar visual lexicon.

in Madrid on the move
Peter Yeandle
Katherine Newey
, and
Jeffrey Richards

PART III The performance of politics T he essays in Part II focused on topical referencing – on how theatrical performance, across popular entertainment genres, operated as sites for the transmission, in staged performances, of political ideologies. What becomes clear is the extent to which mass entertainments sought both to reflect and direct popular opinion and how they, in doing so, demonstrated the remarkable reactivity and flexibility of Victorian theatre to act as a location for the mediation of contemporary politics through popular culture. Popular

in Politics, performance and popular culture
Brad Beaven

In Britain generally, the importance of recreational institutions was belatedly recognised by the authorities. In the anticipation of a massive aerial attack, many public places in Britain were closed down on the outbreak of war.43 There was also a moral dimension since some commentators argued that it was inappropriate that mass entertainment be provided when others were laying down their lives for their country. Such providers of entertainment could have stood accused of peddling frivolous distractions from a national crisis or even of lacking sufficient

in Leisure, citizenship and working-class men in Britain, 1850–1945
Kate Nichols
Sarah Victoria Turner

a serious educative purpose with mass entertainment, designed with pleasure and crowd pleasing in mind, was something of a hallmark of the Sydenham Palace. As Matthew Digby Wyatt, one of the architects of the Fine Arts Courts, put it, the displays at Sydenham were designed to educate ‘by eye’, as well as to be a source of ‘stimulating pleasure’.9 The Crystal Palaces The memory of what art historian Lady Elizabeth Eastlake described as that ‘old friend’ the Great Exhibition lived on in visitors’ recollections, contributing towards the horizon of expectations that

in After 1851
Abstract only
Diana Holmes
David Looseley

’s suggestion (Chapter 6, p. 222) of ‘a gradual undermining of the prestige of the written language’. And even in television, that mass entertainment par excellence, we can locate accommodations, or at least negotiations, between highbrow and lowbrow in particular programmes and, most notably perhaps, in the existence of an entire channel describing itself as ‘cultural’, the Franco-German ARTE. A dedicated Bourdieusian might certainly challenge any resolutely positive take on this evolution, seeing it as no more than the assimilation (with all the postcolonial negativity that

in Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture