Film is an important source of social history, as well as having been a popular art form from the early twentieth century. This study shows how a society, consciously or unconsciously, is mirrored in its cinema. It considers the role of the cinema in dramatizing popular beliefs and myths, and takes three case studies – American populism, British imperialism, German Nazism – to explain how a nation’s pressures, tensions and hopes come through in its films. Examining the American cinema is accomplished by analysing the careers of three great directors, John Ford, Frank Capra and Leo McCarey, while the British and German cinemas are studied by theme. The analysis of the British Empire as seen in film broke exciting new ground with a pioneering account of ‘the cinema of Empire’ when it was first published in 1973.
With full filmographies and a carefully selected bibliography it is an outstanding work of reference and its lively approach makes it a delight to read.
Reviews of the original edition:
‘A work of considerable force and considerable wit.’ – Clive James, Observer
‘…a work that is original, mentally stimulating and most pleasurable to read.’ – Focus on Film
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: The Cinema of Empire 1. Towards a Definition of the Cinema of Empire 2. The Ideology of Empire 3. Literature of Empire 4. Myths and Myth-Figures 5. The Old School Tie 6. The Imperial Archetype 7. The Importance of Being English 8. The White Man’s Burden 9. The Gods of Empire 10. Officers and Other Ranks 11. The Naval Tradition 12. East is East and West is West… 13. …and Never the Twain Shall Meet Part 2: The Cinema of Populism 14. The Ideology of Populism 15. Frank Capra: The Classic Populist 16. Leo McCarey: The Fantasy of Goodwill 17. John Ford: The Folk Memory Part 3: The Cinema of National Socialism 18. The Ideology of National Socialism 19. Leni Riefenstahl – The Documentary and Myth 20. Nazi Feature Films: Themes and Archetypes 21. Nazi Feature Films 2: Discipline, Comradeship and Fatherland 22. The Eternal Jew and Perfidious Albion. Conclusions. Appendix: Filmographies. Select Bibliography. General Index. Index of Film Titles