The Politics of Polarisation: Affluence, Anxiety and the Cold War

Paul Grainge, Mark Jancovich and Sharon Monteith

in Film Histories

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619061
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670888 | DOI:
The Politics of Polarisation: Affluence, Anxiety and the Cold War

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses films in the 1950s — a decade of contradictions in society as well as cinema, a decade in which ideals such as a middle-class lifestyle, the model home, and marriage and parenthood were complicated and undermined by anxieties over gender roles and cross-generational tensions. The nuclear family ideal was of particular importance in the postwar period as a site of hope and regeneration. The chapter also includes the study, ‘Popular Films and Colonial Audiences: The Movies in Northern Rhodesia’ by Charles Ambler, which focuses on the ‘Copperbelt’ mining district of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia following independence in 1964), in order to assess the circumstances in which American cinema, and by extension Western culture as constructed by the Hollywood dream factory, was consumed by a specific African audience.

Keywords: films; filmmaking; American cinema; middle class; nuclear family; gender roles; cross-generational tensions; film history; Charles Ambler; colonial audiences

Chapter.  17758 words. 

Subjects: Film

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.