Science Fiction Cinema and 1950s Britain: Recontextualizing Cultural Anxiety (Hardback)Matthew Jones (author)
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 514 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
In this fascinating study of the British reception of 1950s American science fiction films, Matthew Jones shows that these films are more than just about the fear of communism and The Bomb. Boldly challenging critical orthodoxy, Jones' work has enormous implications for our wider understanding of genre and national cinema. * Barry Keith Grant, Professor Emeritus, Brock University, Canada and author of Film Genre: From Iconography to Ideology and many other books on film *
With this book, Matthew Jones provides a fascinating revisionary account of 1950s science fiction cinema. Through focusing on the specifically British reception of both British and American Sf films, Jones challenges the 'commie-baiting' readings that have become firmly associated with this kind of cinema and finds instead new and sometimes surprising significance, nuance and ambivalence. Accessible, stimulating and provocative, Jones's study is a valuable contribution to our understanding of British film culture during the 1950s. It is also a welcome reminder that films are as much defined through the contexts of their reception as they are through the circumstances of their production. * Peter Hutchings, Professor of Film Studies, Northumbria University, UK *
Science Fiction Cinema and 1950s Britain cleverly rethinks the reception of a range of genre films in the British context, challenging received wisdoms and revising established histories along the way. Matthew Jones skilfully re-reads the likes of monster movies, alien invasion narratives, and nuclear nightmares to show how British audiences of the time were unlikely to mirror the kinds of cinematic understandings historically linked to US culture. Rather than 'reds under the bed', this was an era of Establishment defectors in Britain, whilst Jones also analyses how 'atomic anxieties' were distinctively filtered through memories and practices of the "Blitz". Offering timely new ways of approaching 1950s science fiction cinema, this book brilliantly complicates film history's dominant accounts. * Matt Hills, Professor of Media and Film, University of Huddersfield, UK *
Received wisdom on the 1950s wave of English language science-fiction films views them primarily as articulating distinctively American fears of communist infiltration and nuclear science, albeit in allegorical form. In this volume Matthew Jones offers a more nuanced reading, reconsidering the films in their context of reception in Britain where, he argues, rather different public anxieties play into their likely understanding by audiences. In a UK in the throes of losing its empire the threat of communism was seen rather differently, attitudes to nuclear energy and science were arguably more complex, and race was becoming a significant factor in public perceptions. Re-examining the films in this cultural context gives rise to a fascinating study which obliges us both to rethink the traditional critical approach to 50s sf cinema and, more generally, to recognise that it is always necessary to pay full attention to the cultural landscapes within which films are received and understood. * Andrew Tudor, Professor Emeritus, University of York, UK *
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