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Title: The stranger left no card: a critical analysis of Wendy Toye’s work as a woman director in British cinema and television
Authors: Qureshi, Iram Kamran
Advisors: Moody, P
Hunt, L
Keywords: 1950s British cinema;British television;Women filmmakers;Film history;Gender
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This thesis represents the first sustained analysis of the career of pioneering British woman film-maker Wendy Toye, exploring what her work reveals about women’s contribution to 1950s British cinema. Drawing on new archival documents released as part of a collection of Toye’s personal papers, my study provides an historical account of Toye’s screen work from 1952 to 1982. Using these primary sources and a textual analysis of Toye’s film and television productions, I examine three aspects of her career; firstly, the development of her visual aesthetic; secondly, how gender has informed her work; and thirdly, what her career reveals about the production context for women in the 1950s British film industry. I argue that Toye’s films have been unjustly neglected from histories of British cinema, and that over a thirty-year career she developed a distinctive aesthetic that deserves greater critical attention. I show how by labelling her style as ‘balletic’, previous authors have inadvertently gendered her work as ‘feminine’, which has in turn contributed to the neglect of her output in histories of British cinema. While not an explicitly feminist film-maker, I demonstrate how her work also provides a consistent critique of established gender roles, establishing her as a more radical director than has been previously acknowledged. In so doing, this thesis builds on recent studies of British women directors to raise important questions about how researchers can critically assess these film-makers in future, without resorting to accounts that unintentionally fall prey to traditional stereotypes and further entrench the omission of these women from British film history.
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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