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British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction [#720]
British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction [#720]
  • Considers the whole of of British Cinema and explains its place in the world of filmmaking
  • Analyses the influence of key figures in the history of British cinema, particularly Alfred Hitchcock
  • Describes the varying reputation that British Cinema has had around the world
  • Considers the impact of television, and the future of British cinema

Cinema has had a hugely influential role on global culture in the 20th century at multiple levels: social, political, and educational. The part of British cinema in this has been controversial - often derided as a whole, but also vigorously celebrated, especially in terms of specific films and film-makers.
In this Very Short Introduction, Charles Barr considers films and filmmakers, and studios and sponsorship, against the wider view of changing artistic, socio-political, and industrial climates over the decades of the 20th Century. Considering British cinema in the wake of one of the most familiar of cinematic reference points - Alfred Hitchcock - Barr traces how British cinema has developed its own unique path, and has since been celebrated for its innovative approaches and distinctive artistic language.


List of Illustrations

1:Britain and Cinema
2:Varieties of Britishness
3:A very short history
4:1933 and after
5:The war and after
6:Ealing and after
7:Chariots and after
8:Looking back, looking forward

Further Reading
General Index
Index of Names

About the author: 

Charles Barr worked for many years at the University of East Anglia, helping to develop one of the first UK programmes in Film Studies at graduate and undergraduate level. He has since taught in St Louis, Galway and Dublin and St Mary's University, Twickenham, and is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of East Anglia. Much of his published work has been on British Cinema, including books on Ealing Studios (1977) and English Hitchcock (1999), and he was co-writer, with director Stephen Frears, of Typically British, part of the centenary history of cinema broadcast on Channel 4 in 1995. He has continued writing on Hitchcock, with a study of Vertigo in the BFI Classics series (new edition, 2012) and Hitchcock: Lost and Found, co-authored with the Parisian scholar Alain Kerzoncuf.

"Writing with a graceful style and a quiet wit, Barr has made a valuable contribution to the increasing array of cinematic Very Short Introductions." - David Sterritt, Quarterly Review of Film and Video

"It's a long time since I've read such a short book that seems so rich in content and offered so comprehensive and lucid approach to a complex phenomenon. This is a book for any intelligent non-specialist reader with an interest in British film." - Brian McFarlane, On Screen

"An entertaining and very informative tour of British film history, starting from the silent days of course, but taking a more productive route than a simple chronological tour." - Pamela Hutchison, Silent London

"This short introduction is...a shrewd one... it informs and also inspires." - Graham McCann, Former Fellow of King's College, University of Cambridge

"Not the least among this small book's many pleasures are its lucid, nuanced prose style and the elegant manner in which thematic threads are teased out and followed through ... it is a sensitive, sensible, and sharply perceptive introduction that will be welcomed by students new to the field, while those who think they know everything about the subject already will find some fresh observations." - Sheldon Hall, Hitchcock Annual
"It guides and galvanises; it informs and also inspires. As a starting point for an inquisitive student,... it soon earns ample respect for its selectiveness, as well as appreciation for the additional lines of inquiry that it suggests." - Graham McCann, Society

"British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction, despite its format as a pocket guide, offers considerably more than its slender size promises. It will be of particular value to students and to general readers approaching British cinema history for the first time, and it is pleasing that the appendices include a solid section of recommended further reading." - James Shelton, Journal of British Cinema and Television 21.1

Product details

ISBN : 9780199688333

Charles Barr
168 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Oct 2022
Very Short Introductions
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British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction [#720]

British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction [#720]

British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction [#720]