University of Leicester
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Family values : popular British cinema and the family, 1940-1949

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:44 authored by Claire. Fogg
Belonging to the field of British cinema history, this revisionist thesis examines the portrayal of the family in feature film, 1940-1949. Using a sample of popular films as extended case studies, the method of analysis is qualitative, identifying recurring narrative themes and patterns across a range of film genres. It investigates what familial forms were depicted in popular British feature films; how family representations operated within (patriotic) film narratives; whether the family was presented as an ideal; whether contradictions existed in the representation of the family; and to what extent film portrayals of the family articulated or related to wider public concerns about the family in general, and about the role of the mother in particular. In addition, this thesis also scrutinises how the idea of the family was an important construct for rendering non-familial structures comprehensible according to commonly held cultural understandings.;Overall, it arrives at four main findings: that popular British cinema, 1940-1949, was characterised by diversity; families in some shape or form were a pervasive element of British cinema during the 1940s; familial representations were characterised by a multi-dimensional morality; and that women (especially in their roles as mothers and wives) were frequently figured as a 'problem' or 'threat' to the family and family life, fathers were presented as less central to family life, and children were usually portrayed as innocents.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Economic and Social History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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