British Cinema and Society 1930-1950

Module code: HA3472 

Module co-ordinator: to be confirmed

Module Overview

This module explores the relationship between cinema and society in Britain during the period when cinema-going was ‘the essential social habit of the age’ (A.J.P. Taylor). It considers the extent and nature of cinema-going and examines the content and style of British films during the 1930s and 1940s. It considers the ideological role of cinema as a vehicle for promoting and supporting consensus and its adoption as an instrument of propaganda during the Second World War; it examines the regulation of the film industry by government and the control of content by the British Board of Film Censors; it discusses both the critical and popular reception of different films and film makers. The module covers genres such as the historical film, spy film, empire film, war film, costume melodrama and crime film, and includes work by important British film makers such as Alexander Korda, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell and the Boulting Brothers. The emphasis throughout will be on placing film in its historical and cultural contexts in order to demonstrate how films were informed by and responded to social and political change during these years. 

Assessment Method

  • Three hour examination at the end of the semester (50%)

  • 2,500-3,000 word essay (50%)