Picturing the past
Picturing the past : the rise and fall of the British costume film
London : BFI Publishing, 1994, 1 vol. (X-239 p.).
From the riotous banqueting scenes of The private life of Henry VIII to the sexual banditry of The wicked lady, british costume film attracted controversy. This book charts the development of a flamboyant genre from the 1930s to the 1950s. A pioneering study which combines the interpretation of unknown archival material with attention to visual style, it establishes the ways in which historical film responded to social change and provided potent metaphors for its audiences. Sue Harper demonstrates how producers such as Alexander Korda, Herbert Wilcox, Michael Balcon and the Ostrers constructed images of the past which drew, variously and selectively, on key themes in popular culture. She shows that official bodies feared the effects of historical film and attempted to influence it. She conducts a broad survey of contemporary audience response, establishing that it was for women and the working class that costume film had an important symbolic function.
Sue Harper has published widely on british cinema. She teaches film and cultural history at the University of Portsmouth.
Axe de recherches :
- Axe transversal : Cultures visuelles