Book

John Mills and British Cinema

Gill Plain

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621071
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651092 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621071.001.0001
John Mills and British Cinema

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Although his film career extended from the early days of sound to the British New Wave and beyond, Sir John Mills is nonetheless remembered as the archetypal hero of the Second World War. Regarded as an English ‘everyman’, his performances crossed the class divide and, in his easy transition from below decks to above, he came to represent a newly democratic masculine ideal. But what was this exemplary masculinity and what became of it in the aftermath of war? This book asks how was it possible for an actor to embody national identity and, by exploring the cultural contexts in which Mills and the nation became synonymous, offers a new perspective on 40 years of cinema and social change. Through detailed analysis of a wide range of classic British films, it exposes the shifting constructions of ‘national’ masculinity, arguing that the screen persona of the actor is a fundamental, and often overlooked, dimension of British cinema.

Keywords: British New Wave; Sir John Mills; Second World War; hero; English everyman; national identity; cinema; social change; classic British films; masculinity

Book.  264 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Acting English in John Mills and British Cinema

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