Railway stations provide the setting for meetings and departures. Trains
roaring through contrast with the bleakness of an empty platform after
farewells have been made. Several UK stations have drawn on Brief Encounter
as a name for refreshment rooms. Carnforth Station, now described as ‘The
Home of Brief Encounter’, has made a major tourist attraction out of its
contact with the actual filming of the night scenes there. It replicates the
film’s tea room, screens the film daily, and has a shop full of souvenir
artefacts of the film.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.