Download British Popular Films, 1929-1939: The Cinema of Reassurance by Stephen C. Shafer PDF

By Stephen C. Shafer

Shafer's learn demanding situations the normal ancient assumption that British function motion pictures in the course of the Thirties have been normally orientated to the middle-class. as a substitute, he makes the severe contrast among movies meant for West finish and overseas flow and people meant basically for family, working-class audiences. faraway from being alientated via a 'middle-class institution', operating women and men flocked to work out photos that includes such music-hall luminaries as Gracie Fields and George Formby.

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Extra info for British Popular Films, 1929-1939: The Cinema of Reassurance (Studies in Film, Television and the Media)

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British producers will not have to look for a scenario and setting. ”l4 A shopgirl similarly berated the style of speaking used by actresses in roles representing her occupation; in a 1937 letter, she bitterly commented with regard to a particular film: I feel I must protest against the exaggerated and out of date characterisation which spoils so many British films… The average shop-girl speaks probably as well as…[the actress] does in private life. I know several shop-girls who also resented this picture.

They are typical of England, they crystallise and personify those very attributes we worship and admire…. [They] possess that certain something we are glad to call British. 50 Yet the roles of the two characters are so small that they are almost non-existent; as a matter of fact, one of the chief criticisms of the film is that it was essentially concerned with the officers and not the enlisted men and that it portrayed the enlisted men in the stereotypical way. Clearly, the minor working-class characters were emphasized in the publicity strictly to respond to those who wanted to see accurate characterizations of the working classes.

This is 1934, yet the leading English exponent of Cockney wit gives us impressions of people of fifty years ago. ” I am 28, have lived amongst the Cockneys all my life, and I can honestly say that if any of my work mates, whose ages range from twenty to seventy, spoke and acted like Gordon Harker, we would give him a raspberry…. It is time that Gordon Harker came out of the past and gave us an impression of the present. 19 One writer from London seemed to sum up this point of view that British films too often took the easy way out in their stereotypical, Cockney characterizations of the working classes; in a 1933 letter to Picluregoer Weekly, complaining about the “use of the Cockney dialect in British films,” he wrote: This type of speech in its proper place and time is highly effective… but I see no reason why every metropolitan policeman, barmaid, or shop assistant who has to appear should be made to speak this way.

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