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Title: The professional officer class in post-war cinema – or how British films learned to stop worrying and love the affluent society
Authors: Roberts, Andrew
Advisors: Petley, J
Hunt, L
Keywords: Middle class;Teddy boy;Mainstream;Studio system;B film
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: My central argument is that mainstream British cinema of the 1951 – 1965 period marked the end of the paternalism, as exemplified by a professional ‘officer class’, as consumerism gradually came to be perceived as the norm as opposed to a post-war enemy. The starting point is 1951, the year of the Conservative victory in the General Election and a time which most films were still locally funded. The closing point is 1965, by which point the vast majority of British films were funded by the USA and often featured a youthful and proudly affluent hero. Thus, this fourteen year describes how British cinema moved away from the People as Hero guided by middle class professionals in the face of consumerism. Over the course of this work, I will analyse the creation of the archetypes of post-war films and detail how the impact of consumerism and increased Hollywood involvement in the UK film industry affected their personae. However, parallel with this apparently linear process were those films that questioned or attacked the wartime consensus model. As memories of the war receded, and the Rank/ABPC studio model collapsed, there was an increasing sense of deracination across a variety of popular British cinematic genres. From the beginning of our period there is a number films that infer that the “Myth of the Blitz”, as developed in a cinematic sense, was just that and our period ends with films that convey a sense of a fragmenting society.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
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Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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