1st Edition

British Cinema

ISBN 9780415525671
Published January 21, 2014 by Routledge
1752 Pages

USD $1,670.00

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Book Description

Serious scholarly writing and research on British cinema has burgeoned to a dizzying degree in recent decades, and this new four-volume collection from Routledge meets the need for an authoritative reference work to enable users to navigate and make sense of the subject’s large body of scholarship, and the continuing explosion in research output. Edited by Robert Murphy, the leading expert in the field, this new title is a ‘mini library’ of the foundational and the very best cutting-edge scholarship on British cinema.

British Cinema provides an indispensable one-stop resource on the major periods, genres, studios, filmmakers, and debates in British cinema from the nineteenth century to the present day. The collection addresses a wide range of issues and topics including: British cinema as a ‘national’ cinema; its often difficult relationship with Hollywood; censorship; gender representation; distinctively British genres (not least, horror, comedy, and costume film); and the output of studios and directors (including immortals such as Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Alexander Mackendrick, and Michael Powell).

British Cinema includes a full index and a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and advanced students of film studies as a vital research tool.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Silent Cinema

1. Luke McKernan, ‘How to Make Ben Hur Look Like an Epic’, in Alan Burton and Laraine Porter (eds.), Pimple, Pranks and Pratfalls: British Comedy Before 1930 (Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 2000), pp. 7–9.

2. Amy Sargeant, ‘Mud, Rats, Lice, Ice’ and ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad’, British Cinema (London: BFI Publishing, 2005), pp. 58–67.

3. Matthew Sweet, ‘Strange England’, Shepperton Babylon: The Lost World of British Cinema (London: Faber and Faber, 2005), pp. 3–9.

4. Christine Gledhill, ‘Late Silent Britain’, in Robert Murphy (ed.), The British Cinema Book, 3rd edn. (London: BFI Publishing, 2009), pp. 163–76.

Part 2: The Rise and Fall of Popular British Cinema

5. Robert Murphy, ‘Fantasy Worlds: British Cinema Between the Wars’, Screen, 1985, 26, 1, 10–20.

6. Mike Wayne, ‘Constellating Walter Benjamin and British Cinema: A Study of The Private Life of Henry VIII’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2002, 19, 249–60.

7. Lawrence Napper, ‘British Cinema and the Middle Brow’, in Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson (eds.), British Cinema: Past and Present (London and New York, Routledge, 2000), pp. 110–23.

8. Dilys Powell, Films Since 1939 (London: Longmans Green, 1947), pp. 7–40.

9. James Chapman, ‘Women and War’, The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939–45 (London: I. B. Tauris, 2000), pp. 201–15.

10. Elena Von Kassel Siambani, ‘Re-imagining History: The Silent Village and Went the Day Well?’, in Melvyn Stokes and Gilles Menegaldo (eds.), Cinéma et histoire/History and Cinema (Paris: Michel Houdiard, 2008), pp. 363–73.

11. Robert Murphy, ‘Great Expectations’, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939–49 (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 64–83.

12. Christine Geraghty: ‘European Relations: Sex, Politics and the European Woman’, British Cinema in the Fifties (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 93–111.

13. Sue Harper and Vincent Porter, ‘Moved to Tears: Weeping in the Cinema in Postwar Britain’, Screen, 1996, 37, 2, 152–73.

14. Melanie Williams, ‘A Girl Alone in a Man’s World: Ice Cold in Alex (1958) and the Place of Women in the 1950s British War Film Cycle’, Feminist Media Studies, 2009, 9, 1, 95–108.

15. Robert Murphy, ‘A Savage Story of Lust and Ambition’, Sixties British Cinema (London: BFI Publishing, 1992), pp. 10–33.

16. Moya Luckett, ‘Travel and Mobility: Femininity and National Identity in Swinging London Films’, in Andrew Higson and Justine Ashby (eds.), British Cinema, Past and Present (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 233–45.

17. Ian Hunter, ‘Take an Easy Ride: Sexploitation in the 1970s’, in Robert Shail (ed.), Seventies British Cinema (London: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 3–13.

18. Leon Hunt. ‘Lads and Loungers: Some 1970s Masculinities’, British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexploitation (London: Routledge), pp. 56–73.

19. John Hill, ‘Film and Television, A New Relationship’, British Films of the 1980s (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 53–70.

20. John Kirk, ‘Urban Narratives: Contesting Place and Space in Some British Cinema from the 1980s’, Journal of Narrative Theory, 2001, 31, 3, 353–79.

Part 3: Contemporary British Cinema

21. Paul Dave, ‘The Underclass: Fantasy and Realism’, Visions of England: Class and Culture in Contemporary Cinema (London: Berg, 2006), pp. 83–99.

22. Mike O’Pray, ‘British Avant-Garde and Art Cinema from the 1970s to the 1990s, in Andrew Higson (ed.), Dissolving Views: Key Writings on British Cinema (London: Cassell, 1996) pp. 178–90.

23. Nick Roddick, ‘Four Weddings and a Final Reckoning’, Sight and Sound, Jan. 1995, pp. 13–15.

24. Stuart Hanson, ‘Spoilt for Choice’, in Robert Murphy (ed.), British Cinema of the 90s (London: BFI Publishing, 2000), pp. 48–59.

25. Nick James, ‘In Bed with the Film Council’, Sight and Sound, Jan. 2001, pp. 14–17.

26. Barbara Korte and Claudia Sternberg, ‘Black and Asian Britain and the Cultural Mainstream’, Bidding for the Mainstream? Black and Asian British Film Since the 1990s (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 2004), pp. 7–17, 21–4.

27. James Caterer, ‘Evaluating Lottery Funding for Film’, The Peoples Pictures: National Lottery Funding and British Cinema (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2011), pp. 113–22.


Part 4: Directors

4.1: Alfred Hitchcock

28. Robert Murphy, ‘Silent Hitchcock’, in Monica Dall’Asta, Leonardo Quaresima, and Guglelmo Pescator (eds.), Prima Dell Autore, Papers Given at the Third Udine International Conference in Film Studies, 1997 (Udine: Edizioni Forum, 1997), pp. 299–305.

29. Raymond Durgnat, ‘The Thirteen Lives of Alfred Hitchcock’, The Strange Case of Alfred Hitchcock (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1974), pp. 17–26.

30. Tom Ryall, ‘Hitchcock and Genre, the Classic Thriller Sextet’, Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema (London: Croom Helm, 1986), pp. 115–40.

31. Charles Barr, ‘Buchan and Hitchcock’ and ‘The 39 Steps’, English Hitchcock (Moffat, Dumfriesshire: Cameron & Hollis, 1999), pp. 147–63.

4.2 Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

32. Raymond Durgnat (as O. O. Green), ‘Michael Powell’, Movie, 1965, 14, 17–20.

33. Robert Murphy, ‘Strong Men: Three Forms of the Magus in the Films of Powell and Pressburger’, Screen, 2005, 46, 1, 63–71.

34. Laura Mulvey, ‘The Light That Fails: A Commentary on Peeping Tom’, in Ian Christie and Andrew Moor (eds.), The Cinema of Michael Powell (London: BFI Publishing, 2005), pp. 141–55.

4.3 Ken Loach

35. John Hill, ‘What Might Have Been: Land and Freedom and The Wind That Shakes the Barley’, Ken Loach: The Politics of Film and Television (London: BFI Publishing, 2011), pp. 202–21.

36. Graham Fuller (ed.), ‘Rejuvenation’, Loach on Loach (London: Faber and Faber, 1998), pp. 78–111.

37. Jacob Leigh, ‘Conclusion’, The Cinema of Ken Loach: Art in the Service of the People (London and New York: Wallflower, 2002), pp. 171–9.

4.4 Michael Winterbottom

38. Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams, ‘The Realist’, Michael Winterbottom (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), pp. 30–47.

39. Melanie Williams and Neil Sinyard, ‘Michael Winterbottom and the Unpopular British Cinema’, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 2002, 5, 114–23.

40. Michael Atkinson, ‘Michael Winterbottom: Cinema as Heart Attack’, Film Comment, January/February 1998.

41. Sarah Street, ‘Wonderland: the Embodiment of the Real’, Costume and Cinema: Dress Codes in Popular Film (London and New York: Wallflower, 2001), pp. 73–84.

Part 5: Producers

42. Charles Drazin, ‘Michael Balcon’, The Finest Years: British Cinema of the 1940s (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007), pp. 100–11.

43. Angus Finney, ‘Crying All the Way to the Bank’, The Egos Have Landed: Rise and Fall of Palace Pictures (London: Heinemann, 1996), pp. 265–84.

44. Christopher Meir, ‘The Producer as Salesman: Jeremy Thomas, Film Promotion and Contemporary Transnational Independent Cinema’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 2009, 29, 4, 467–81.

Part 6: Writers

45. T. E. B. Clarke, This is Where I Came In (London: Michael Joseph, 1974), pp. 155–69.

46. Jill Nelmes, ‘Collaboration and Control in the Development of Janet Green’s Screenplay Victim’, Journal of Screenwriting, 2010, 1, 2, 255–71.

47. Andrew Spicer, ‘The Author as Author: Restoring the Screenwriter to Film History’, in James Chapman, Mark Glancy, and Sue Harper (eds.), The New Film History: Approaches, Methods and Sources (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), pp. 89–103.

48. Hanif Kureishi, ‘Introduction to My Beautiful Laundrette’ and ‘Sex and Secularity’, Collected Essays (London: Faber and Faber, 2011), pp. 223–7, 242–7.

Part 7: Editors

49. Roy Perkins and Martin Stollery, ‘The Dream Repair Man’, British Film Editors: The Heart of the Movie (London: BFI Publishing, 2004), pp. 41–60.

50. Dai Vaughan, Portrait of an Invisible Man: Working Life of Stewart McAllister, Film Editor (London: BFI Publishing, 1983), pp. 72–82.

Part 8: Art Directors

50. Laurie Ede, ‘Pictorial Design’, British Film Design: A History (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), pp. 143–65.

51. Christopher Frayling, ‘Designing James Bond: Goldfinger’, Ken Adam and the Art of Production Design (Faber and Faber, 2005), pp. 137–46.

Part 9: Cinematographers

52. Duncan Petrie, ‘Neo-Expressionism and British Cinema: The Work of Robert Krasker and Jack Cardiff’, in John Orr and Olga Taxidou (eds.), Post-War Cinema and Modernity: A Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), pp. 223–33.

53. Saul Metzstein, ‘Grit and Polish’, Sight and Sound, 2001, 11, 5, 12–13.


Part 10: Taking British Cinema Seriously

54. Oswell Blakeston, ‘British Solecisms’, Dorothy Richardson, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’, ‘The Increasing Congregation’, ‘The Front Rows’, ‘The Cinema in the Slums’, ‘Dialogue in Dixie’, and ‘This Spoon-Fed Generation’, in James Donald, Anne Friedberg, and Laura Marcus (eds.), Close Up 1927–1933 (London: Cassell, 1998), pp. 41–2, 168–9, 170–1, 172–3, 180–1, 193–6, 203–5.

55. Victor Perkins, ‘The British Cinema’, Movie, 1962, 1, 3–7.

56. Alan Lovell, ‘British Cinema: The Unknown Cinema’ (BFI Education Seminar Paper, March 1969), pp. 1–8.

57. Peter Hutchings, ‘The Histogram and the List: The Director in British Film Criticism’, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 2001, 4, 30–9.

58. Charles Barr, ‘Amnesia and Schizophrenia’, in Charles Barr (ed.), All Our Yesterdays (London: BFI Publishing, 1986), pp. 1–29.

59. John Hill, ‘Revisiting British Film Studies’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 2010, 7, 2, 299–310.

Part 11: Realism and Melodrama

60. Sue Harper, ‘History and the Working Class: Gainsborough 1942–50’, Picturing the Past: The Rise and Fall of the British Costume Film (London: BFI Publishing, 1994), pp. 119–35.

61. Geoff Brown, ‘Which Way to the Way Ahead?’, Sight and Sound, Autumn 1978, 242–7.

62. Martin Hunt, ‘New Labour, New Criticism: A Contemporary Re-Assessment of Ealing and the Archers’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2002, 19, 261–9.

63. Julian Petley, ‘The Lost Continent’, in Charles Barr (ed.), All Our Yesterdays (London: BFI Publishing, 1986) pp. 98–119.

64. Lindsay Anderson, ‘Stand Up! Stand Up!’, Sight and Sound, Autumn 1956, pp. 63–9.

65. Andrew Higson ‘Space, Place, Spectacle: Landscape and Townscape in the "Kitchen Sink" Film’, Screen, 1984, 25, 4–5, 2–21.

66. John Orr, ‘Traducing Realisms: Naked and Nil by Mouth’, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 2002, 5, 104–13.

Part 12: The Heritage Debate

67. Cairns Craig, ‘Rooms without a View’, Sight and Sound, June 1991, 10–13.

68. Andrew Higson, ‘Re-presenting the National Past: Nostalgia and Pastiche in the Heritage Film’, in Lester Friedman (ed.), Fires Were Started: British Cinema and Thatcherism, 2nd edn. (London and New York: Wallflower, 2006), pp. 91–109.

69. Sheldon Hall, ‘The Wrong Sort of Cinema: Refashioning the Heritage Film Debate’, in Robert Murphy (ed.), The British Cinema Book, 3rd edn. (London: BFI Publishing, 2009), pp. 46–56.

70. Pamela Church Gibson, ‘From Dancing Queen to Plaster Virgin: Elizabeth and the End of English Heritage?’, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 2002, 5, 133–41.

71. Claire Monk, ‘The British Heritage-Film Debate Revisited’, in Claire Monk and Amy Sargeant (eds.), British Historical Cinema (London and New York, 2002), pp. 176–98.

Part 13: Art and Popular Cinema

72. Robert Murphy, ‘Popular Cinema’, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 1998, 1, 6–12.

73. Raymond Durgnat, ‘Romantics and Moralists’, A Mirror for England (London: Faber and Faber, 1970), pp. 206–26.

74. Peter Wollen, ‘The Last New Wave: Modernism in the British Films of the Thatcherite Era’, Fires Were Started: British Cinema and Thatcherism, 2nd edn. (Columbia University Press: 2007), pp. 30–44.

75. John Orr, ‘Romantics Versus Modernists’ and ‘Running Man 2: Carol Reed and His Contemporaries’, Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), pp. 1–4, 44–57.

76. Penelope Houston, ‘Keeping Up With the Antonionis’, Sight and Sound, Autumn 1964, 163–8.

Part 14: Censorship

77. Sarah Street, ‘What a Difference a War Makes!: Love on the Dole (1941) and British Film Censorship’, British Cinema in Documents (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 23–38.

78. Brian McFarlane, ‘Outrage: No Orchids for Miss Blandish’, in Steve Chibnall and Robert Murphy (eds.), British Crime Cinema (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 37–50.

79. Tony Aldgate, ‘A Woman’s Lot’, Censorship and the Permissive Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), pp. 121–41.

80. Sian Barber, ‘"Blue is the Pervading Shade": Re-examining British Film Censorship in the 1970s’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 2009, 6, 349–69.


Part 15: Genres

15.1 Horror

81. Lawrence Alloway, ‘Monster Films’, Encounter, January 1960, 70–2.

82. David Pirie, ‘Hammer’s Origins’, A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007), pp. 14–35.

Case Study: Witchfinder General

83a. Ben Halligan, Michael Reeves (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), pp. 173–94.

b. Robin Wood, ‘Michael Reeves: In Memoriam’, Movie, 1969/70, 17, 2–6.

c. David Pirie, ‘A Renaissance of Themes and Ideas? Michael Reeves’, A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007), pp. 167–75.

15.2 Comedy

84. Lawrence Napper, ‘No Limit: British Class and Comedy of the 1930s’, in Larraine Porter and Ian Hunter (eds.), British Comedy Cinema (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), pp. 38–50.

85. Michael Balcon, ‘The Ealing Comedies’, Michael Balcon Presents … A Lifetime of Films (London: Hutchinson, 1969), pp. 156–68.

Case Study: ‘Carry On’ Films

86 a. James Chapman, ‘A Short History of the Carry On Films’, in Larraine Porter and Ian Hunter (eds.), British Comedy Cinema (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), pp. 100–15.

b. Andy Medhurst, ‘Thirty Nibbles at the Same Cherry: Why the ‘Carry Ons’ Carry On’, A National Joke: Popular Comedy and English Cultural Identities (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 128–41.

15.3 Crime Films and Film Noir

87. Peter Wollen, ‘Riff-Raff Realism’, Sight and Sound, April 1998, 18–22.

88. Andrew Spicer, ‘British Film Noir’, Film Noir (Harlow: Longman, 2002), pp. 175–203.

89. Danny Leigh, ‘Get Smarter’, Sight and Sound, 2000, 10, 6, 22–5.

Case Study: Sexy Beast

90 a. Nick James, ‘Thieves on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’, Sight and Sound, 2001, 11, 1, 18–20.

b. Mark Olsen, ‘A Place in the Sun’, Film Comment, 2001, 37, 2, 16–17.

c. Steve Chibnall, ‘Travels in Ladland: The British Gangster Film Cycle 1998–2001’, in Robert Murphy (ed.), The British Cinema Book, 3rd edn. (London: BFI/Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009), pp. 382–3.

Part 16: Representation, Nationality, and Gender

91. Jon Burrows, ‘"A Vague Chinese Quarter Elsewhere": Limehouse in the Cinema 1914–36’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 2009, 6, 2, 282–301.

92. Terry Lovell, ‘Landscapes and Stories in 1960s British Realism’, Screen, 1990, 31, 4, 357–76.

93. Charlotte Brunsdon, ‘Towards a History of Empty Spaces’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 2007, 4, 2, 219–34.

94. Andy Medhurst, ‘Unhinged Invention’, Sight and Sound, October 1995, 6–10.

95. Steven Bourne, ‘Secrets and Lies: Black Histories and British Historical Films’, in Claire Monk and Amy Sargeant (eds.), British Historical Cinema (London and New York, 2002), pp. 47–65.

96. Duncan Petrie, ‘The New Scottish Cinema: Themes and Issues’, Screening Scotland (London: BFI Publishing, 2000), pp. 191–221.

97. Sarita Malik, ‘Money, Macpherson and the Mindset: The Competing Cultural and Commercial Demands on Black and Asian British films in the 1990s’, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 2002, 5, 90–103.

98. Andy Medhurst, ‘Victim: Text as Context’, Screen, 1984, 25, 4–5, 22–35.

99. Andrew Moor, ‘Beyond the Pale: The Politics of Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game’, in Robin Griffiths (ed.), British Queer Cinema (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 157–70.

100. Justine Ashby, ‘"It’s Been Emotional": Reassessing the Contemporary British Women’s Film’, in Melanie Bell and Melanie Williams (eds.), British Women’s Cinema (London and New York: Routledge, 2009), pp. 153–69.

101. Martin McLoone, ‘Traditions of Representation: Political Violence and the Myth of Atavism’, Irish Film (London: BFI Publishing, 2000), pp. 60–84.

102. David Berry, ‘A New Consciousness’, Wales and the Cinema: The First Hundred Years (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996), pp. 413–27.

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Robert Murphy is Emeritus Professor in Film Studies at De Montfort University. He has contributed essays to a variety of collections, written several entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and published articles in Screen, The Journal of British Cinema and Television, Sight and Sound, Senses of Cinema, Film International and The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. His books include Realism and Tinsel (Routledge, 1989), Sixties British Cinema (BFI, 1992), Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 1920–60 (Faber and Faber, 1993), British Cinema and the Second World War (Continuum, 2000), and as editor British Crime Cinema (with Steve Chibnall, Routledge, 1999), British Cinema of the 90s (BFI, 2000), Directors in British and Irish Cinema (BFI, 2006), The British Cinema Book (3rd edition, BFI, 2009). He is currently writing about British Film Noir.