Cinema on the Front Line
British Soldiers and Cinema in the First World War
- 256 Pages
Winner of the Theatre Library Association’s 2021 Richard Wall Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of recorded performance.
Cinema on the Front Line offers the first comprehensive history and analysis of how the medium of cinema intersected with the lives of British soldiers during the First World War. Documenting the wartime use of cinema, from domestic recruitment drives to makeshift theatrical venues established on the front line, and then in convalescent hospitals and camps, this book provides evidence of the previously unacknowledged importance of the medium as recreational support and entertainment for soldiers living through the trauma of conflict.
Presenting the fruits of his archival research, the author makes extensive use of war diaries and other military records to foreground the voices and perspectives of British soldiers themselves. Including discussion of over 70 films, this book will interest specialists in British film history, propaganda film, exhibition and audience studies, as well as historians and students of the First World War, propaganda and the military.
This is an important contribution. Work on cinema tends to privilege official views and opinions on cinema, and analyse it in a very top-down manner. This work shows the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how cinema was delivered to soldiers and what soldiers made of cinema.Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British History, University of Kent
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1: Cinema, Recruitment Campaigns and the Outbreak of War
Chapter 2: The BEF and Film Exhibition on the Western Front
Chapter 3: Soldier Cinema Audiences on the Front Line
Chapter 4: A War of Representation: Soldiers and Topical Films
Chapter 5: The Cinema, Recovery and Rehabilitation
- 256 Pages
- 27 Illustrations, 2 Black & white tables