Films recreating or addressing 'the past' - recent or distant, actual or imagined - have been a mainstay of British cinema since the silent era, and have been consistent successes with audiences both at home and abroad. Yet this popularity has made British history, costume and heritage films some of British cinema's most contested genres, and in certain cases they have become targets of critical and political attack. From Elizabeth to Carry On Up The Khyber, and from the heritage-film debate to issues of authenticity and questions of genre, British Historical Cinema explores the ways in which British films have represented the past on screen, the issues they raise and the debates they have provoked. Contributors from a range of disciplines and cultural perspectives draw parallels between film and the presentation of the past in academic and popular history writing, literature, the popular media and the visual arts. Discussing films from biopics to literary adaptations, and from depictions of Britain's colonial past to the re-imagining of recent decades in retro films such as Velvet Goldmine, they ask whose history is being represented, from whose perspective, and why.
Placing films in the historical and cultural contexts in which they were produced and released, and considering the expectations and responses of audiences and critics, British Historical Cinema seeks to provoke a reappraisal of the terms in which British period films are discussed and evaluated. Contributors: Alan Burton, Stephen Bourne, James Chapman, Nicholas J. Cull, Fidelma Farley, Sheldon Hall, Jane Kingsley-Smith, Kara McKechnie, Claire Monk, T. Muraleedharan, Tim O'Sullivan, James Quinn, Amy Sargeant Stephen Bourne,Sarah Cardwell, James Chapman,Fidelma Farley, Shelton Hall, Jane Kingsley-Smith, Kara McKechnie, Claire Monk, T. Muraleedharan
Claire Monk is Lecturer in Media Studies at DeMontfort University. Amy Sargeant is Lecturer in History of Film and Visual Media at Birkbeck College, University of London.