The Oxford History of World Cinema

By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith | Go to book overview

whole bloody war', through its empathy for his tears and drinking, and through its discussion of the nature of the relationship between himself (played by Jack Hawkins) and his first lieutenant ( Donald Sinden), which, it suggests, may range from military duty to eroticized love. Anthony Asquith's The Browning Version ( 1951), based on the Terence Rattigan play, indicts any version of manhood which sets store by stoicism, silence, and repression of feeling. A classics master ( Michael Redgrave) is shown to have become a wizened, embittered husk through years of mute tolerance of his wife's unfaithfulness, and because of a failure to show his own emotional life, either to her, or to his pupils. In Victim ( 1961) Dirk Bogarde plays a lawyer who is forced publicly to defend his identity as a homosexual and expose a blackmailing ring after his lover hangs himself, even though this may end his career and shatter his marriage. The pressures to hide this part of his manhood have become intolerable.

Traditional values of masculinity had been disturbed by the war, and these uncertainties, combined with relaxation in BBFC rulings, permitted the emergence of a realist cinema which tested out new versions of the male, paving the way for the British 'New Wave', and the cinema of the so-called Angry Young Men. In many respects this gave new life to the British cinema, but not in all; and for a British cinema of angry women, we have to turn back to the early films of Gracie Fields, the 1940s Gainsborough costume cycle, and some home-front films, or forward to the feminist movement of the 1970s and beyond.


Armes, Roy ( 1978), A Critical History of British Cinema.

Atwell, David ( 1980), Cathedrals of the Movies.

Barr, Charles ( 1977), Ealing Studios (repr. 1993).

Curran, James, and Porter, Vincent (eds.) ( 1983), British Cinema History.

Dickinson, Margaret, and Street, Sarah ( 1985), Cinema and State.

Lant, Antonia ( 1991), Blackout: Reinventing Women for Wartime British Cinema.

Perry, George ( 1985), The Great British Picture Show.

Richards, Jeffrey ( 1984), The Age of the Dream Palace: Cinema and Society in Britain, 1930-1939.

Ryall, Tom ( 1986), Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema.

Stead, Peter ( 1989), Film and the Working Class: The Feature Film in British and American Society.

Taylor, Philip M. (ed.) ( 1988), Britain and the Cinema in the Second World War.

Germany: Nazism and After



Audio-visual machinery played a crucial role in National Socialist designs for living, in radical attempts to monitor human activity and dominate the physical world. Adolf Hitler and his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, were keenly aware of film's ability to mobilize emotions and immobilize minds, to create powerful illusions and captive audiences. Calculating metteurs-en-scène, they employed state-of-the-art technology to implement a society of spectacles, a profusion of celebrations, light shows, and mass extravaganzas. Hitler's regime involved a sustained cinematic event, as Hans Jürgen Syberberg would later put it, 'a film from Germany'. If the Nazis were movie mad, then the Third Reich was movie made, a fantasy construction that in equal parts functioned as a dream machine and a death factory.

German cinema of the Third Reich, even half a century after Hitler's demise, still prompts extreme reactions and hyperbolic formulations. Given the atrocities of National Socialism, the movies, newsreels, and documentaries made under its aegis represent for many commentators film history's darkest hour. The corpus of 1,100 narrative features produced between 1933 and 1945, German critic Wilhelm Roth once observed, catalyses visions of a cinematic hell, where one's torments alternate between hideous propaganda, formal bombast, and unbearable kitsch. To this day Nazi cinema in many minds resembles Mabuse's 1,000 eyes or 1984's panoptic state apparatus.

Immediately after assuming power, the National Socialists purged a once internationally recognized industry of its artistic vanguard and the greater portion of its professional craft and technical expertise. More than 1,500 film-makers -- many of whom were Jews as well as progressives and independents-would flee Germany, replaced in many instances by politically subservient hacks and second-rate opportunists. In the minds of its most severe detractors, Nazi cinema represents the antithesis of Weimar's revered 'haunted screen' (Lotte Eisner). An infamous entity, its most memorable achievement is the systematic abuse of film's formative powers in the name of mass manipulation, state terror, and world-wide destruction.

Goebbels set out to 'reform German film from the ground up'. The new film must renounce the sins of the Weimar Systemzeit, its art-for-art's-sake dalliance, intel-


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The Oxford History of World Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Contents xi
  • Special Features xv
  • List of Colour Illustrations xvii
  • General Introduction xix
  • 1 - Silent Cinema 1895-1930 1
  • Origins and Survival 6
  • Early Cinema 13
  • Transitional Cinema 23
  • The Hollywood Studio System 43
  • The World-Wide Spread of Cinema 53
  • The First World War and the Crisis in Europe 62
  • Tricks and Animation 71
  • Comedy 78
  • Documentary 86
  • Cinema and the Avant-Garde 95
  • Serials 105
  • French Silent Cinema 112
  • Italy- Spectacle and Melodrama 123
  • British Cinema from Hepworth to Hitchcock 130
  • Germany- The Weimar Years 136
  • The Scandinavian Style 151
  • Pre-Revolutionary Russia 159
  • The Soviet Union and the Russian émigrés 162
  • Yiddish Cinema in Europe 174
  • Japan- Before the Great Kanto Earthquake 177
  • Music and the Silent Film 183
  • The Heyday of the Silents 192
  • 2 - Sound Cinema 1930-1960 205
  • The Introduction of Sound 211
  • Hollywood- The Triumph of the Studio System 220
  • Censorship and Self-Regulation 235
  • The Sound of Music 248
  • Technology and Innovation 259
  • Animation 267
  • Cinema and Genre 276
  • The Western 286
  • The Musical 294
  • Crime Movies 304
  • The Fantastic 312
  • Documentary 322
  • Socialism, Fascism, and Democracy 333
  • The Popular Art of French Cinema 344
  • Italy from Fascism to Neo-Realism 353
  • Britain at the End of Empire 361
  • Germany- Nazism and after 374
  • East Central Europe before the Second World War 383
  • Soviet Film under Stalin 389
  • Indian Cinema- Origins to Independence 398
  • China before 1949 409
  • The Classical Cinema in Japan 413
  • The Emergence of Australian Film 422
  • Cinema in Latin America 427
  • After the War 436
  • Transformation of the Hollywood System 443
  • Independents and Mavericks 451
  • 3 - The Modern Cinema 1960-1995 461
  • Television and the Film Industry 466
  • The New Hollywood 475
  • New Technologies 483
  • Sex and Sensation 490
  • The Black Presence in American Cinema 497
  • Exploitation and the Mainstream 509
  • Dreams and Nightmares in the Hollywood Blockbuster 516
  • Cinéma-Vérité and the New Documentary 527
  • Avant-Garde Film- The Second Wave 537
  • Animation in the Post-Industrial Era 551
  • Modern Film Music 558
  • Art Cinema 567
  • New Directions in French Cinema 576
  • Italy- Auteurs and after 586
  • Spain after Franco 596
  • British Cinema- The Search for Identity 604
  • The New German Cinema 614
  • East Germany- The Defa Story 627
  • Changing States in East Central Europe 632
  • Russia after the Thaw 640
  • Cinema in the Soviet Republics 651
  • Turkish Cinema 656
  • The Arab World 661
  • The Cinemas of Sub-Saharan Africa 667
  • Iranian Cinema 672
  • India- Filming the Nation 678
  • Indonesian Cinema 690
  • China after the Revolution 693
  • Popular Cinema in Hong Kong 704
  • Taiwanese New Cinema 711
  • The Modernization of Japanese Film 714
  • New Australian Cinema 722
  • New Zealand Cinema 731
  • Canadian Cinema/Cinéma Canadien 731
  • New Cinemas in Latin America 740
  • New Concepts of Cinema 750
  • The Resurgence of Cinema 759
  • Index 785
  • List of Picture Sources 823


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