Reconstructing Boundaries: Gender, War and Empire in British cinema, 1945-1950

TitleReconstructing Boundaries: Gender, War and Empire in British cinema, 1945-1950
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsWebster, Wendy
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio & Television
Date Published03/2003

This article focuses on the representation of women in British films of war and empire produced in the late 1940's. In films such as 'Men of Two Worlds' (1946), set in Africa, and 'Black Narcissus' (1947), set in India, women were shown as taking an active part in the colonial enterprise. In films of the period depicting World War II, British women were shown as passive, most often cast in roles of good wives and faithful sweethearts. This passivity was instrumental to the celebration of male characters as national heroes. Thus, masculinity became associated with the images of victory in World War II, while femininity was linked to the loss of imperial power and national weakness.

Reprint EditionPublished online 08/02/2010
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