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British Cinema in Documents presents an introduction to the key concerns and debates in British cinema through documents, ranging from official papers to fan magazines. Sarah Street shows how such documentary material can enrich our understanding of cinema's place in national culture and shed new light on defining moments in British cinema history.
Street draws together a wide range of material, discussing oral histories, film posters and stills and star memorabilia alongside audience surveys, censorship reports, fan magazines and web sites, providing a context for each extract she discusses. She uses a series of case studies, including film censorship during the Second World War, the fan cultures surrounding stars from Margaret Lockwood to Ewan McGregor, and surveys of the British cinema audience to illustrate how archival research can provide a new understanding of the relationship between a film and other kinds of texts, and between films, their audiences, and the state.