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Palgrave Macmillan

A Mirror for England

British Movies from Austerity to Affluence

Edition 2nd edition
ISBN 9781844574537
Publication Date December 2011
Formats Paperback 
Publisher British Film Institute
Series BFI Silver

Raymond Durgnat's classic study of British films from the 1940s to the 1960s, first published in 1970, remains one of the most important books ever written on British cinema. In his introduction, Kevin Gough-Yates writes: 'Even now, it astounds by its courage and its audacity; if you think you have an 'original' approach to a filmor a director's work and check it against A Mirror for England, you generally discover that Raymond Durgnat had said it already.' Durgnat himself said about the book that 'the main point was arranging a kind of rendezvous between thinking about movies and thinking, not so much about sociology, as about the experiences that people are having all the time.'

Durgnat used Mirror to assert the validity of British cinema against its dismissal by the critics of Cahiers du cinéma and Sight and Sound. His analysis takes in classics such as In Which We Serve (1942), A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and The Blue Lamp (1949), alongside 'B' films and popular genres such as Hammer horror. Durgnat makes a cogent and compelling case for the success of British films in reflecting British predicaments, moods and myths, at the same time as providing some disturbing new insights into a national character by whose enigmas and contradictions we continue to be perplexed and fascinated.

RAYMOND DURGNAT (1932–2002) was the author of many groundbreaking books about the cinema, among them Films and Feelings (1967), Sexual Alienation in the Cinema (1972), The Strange Case of Alfred Hitchcock and Jean Renoir (both 1974), a study of WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1999) in the BFI Film Classics series, and A Long Hard Look at Psycho (2002), a second edition of which has also published in the BFI Silver series.

KEVIN GOUGH-YATES Film historian. He is considered the authority on European film-makers in Britain and has written extensively about them. His published interviews and retrospectives in the early 1970s were the first to bring the work of the British director Michael Powell to wider critical attention.

Foreword to the 2nd Edition KEVIN GOUGH-YATES
Introduction
Where We Come In
When is a British Film a British Film?
Meaning Cut Meaning
Critic: Judge or Accomplice?
PART I: THE STATE OF THE NATION
The British Constitution
Good Irresolutions
Trouble at t'Mill
PART II: CROSS SECTIONS
The Nine Lives of Colonel Blimp
Pigs in the Middle
Journey to the Edges of the Working-Class
Odds and Bods
PART III: POINTS OF VIEW
Left, Right and Centre
And so, as the Sun Sets slowly, We Bid Adieu
Tunes of Bogey
Gangrene—British Style
Standing up for Jesus
Bloody Foreigners
PART IV: OUR GLORIOUS HERITAGE
History is Bunk
The Impotence of Being Earnest
The Doctored Documentary
PART V: THE AGE OF ACQUIESCENCE
System as Stalemate
Dance to your Daddy
Stresses and Strains
My Famous Last Word is my Bond
God Bless Captain Vere
Hard Conscience and Nonconformity
The Glum and the Guilty
Laugh and Lie Down
Love in a Damp Climate
The Lukewarm Life
PART VI: ROMANTICS AND MORALISTS
Between Two Worlds
A Gothic Revival
Terence Coloured
Shammerteurism
Flesh and Fantasy
The English Moralists
Have Scalpels—Will Travel
Suspended Animation
Lists
References
Bibliography
Filmography
Index

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