Rootless trash? British 'mid-Atlantic' cinema: 1970-1985

Knill, M., 2004. Rootless trash? British 'mid-Atlantic' cinema: 1970-1985. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Britain in the 1970s is characterised typically as a crisis-ridden cultural wasteland. Moreover, despite the revisionist academic accounts that have over recent years reclaimed hitherto reviled facets of British filmmaking, 1970s British cinema remains firmly beyond the pale. Especially despised are the star-laden, big-budget 'Hollywoodesque' movies produced by such as Rank, EMI and ITC throughout the decade; financed upfront by international distribution and television presales, and designed specifically to appeal to the largest possible global audience. Having been deemed too consciously mainstream and American to be taken seriously by British film scholars and, conversely, too British for American cultural critics, these mid-Atlantic movies have long been neglected both critically and academically.

By situating these mid-Atlantic movie packages within broader economic, social, political and generic analytic frameworks - in many cases for the first time - I herein explore the widespread Americanisation of British cinema in the period 1970 to 1985, and highlight how this international strategy was a response to fundamental shifts in both the national culture and the global cinema industry. Each chapter explores a different facet of the relationship between the US and the cinema in Britain, and considers how particular mid-Atlantic films may be read in relation to the specific circumstances in which they were produced and distributed.

As well as identifying competing tendencies towards (nationalist) nostalgia and (internationalist) modernism, I challenge the orthodox reductive generalisation that views 1970s British cinema as culturally 'rootless' and devoid of indigenous relevance. Moreover, I argue that the ascendancy and popularity of this policy of cultural concealment, cloaking British films in the glamorous trappings of mainstream Hollywood cinema, reveals an underlying crisis in British culture and throws into relief contemporary concerns about the practicality and desirability of existing concepts of national identity.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Knill, M.
Date: 2004
ISBN: 9781369316377
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Sep 2020 14:43
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 10:11

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