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Cinema In Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies

857 words - 4 pages

Cinema in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies

The interwar period witnessed an explosion of a variety of leisure activities within British society, some of which were new and some of which were not. One such leisure activity was that of the cinema, and featured as a popular pastime in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies. Whilst the cinema was not a new leisure activity during the interwar era, there were however, developments within this industry that were unique to this period.

The cinema as a form of leisure was not new to British society, and indeed most western industrialised societies, during the interwar era. Prior to World War One it was not much more than a 'technical curiosity', but by the ...view middle of the document...

The visibly attractive and glamorous Hollywood movies often depicted the success of the underdog over unjust authority. Values of cash over culture were often a theme in the early American films and societies with restricted social mobility, such as those in Europe, could dream of such a triumph. The working class and unemployed could fantasise about wealth, fame and freedom which America as a country was portrayed as offering.

The stars, particularly Hollywood stars, made a huge contribution to attracting vast numbers of people to the cinema. Movie stars were only relatively new during the First World War. However, by 1920 there were a number of actors and actresses that had made a name for themselves worldwide. They included names such as Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chapman.. Audiences of the era looked to the stars with a great deal of admiration. Mary Pickford for example, did not represent the typical ‘pure’ women of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. She was often depicted as a modern working women who was in support of women’s suffrage and who moved beyond spheres that so many women only dreamed of doing. She was ‘economically free and morally emancipated’, an inspiration to all women of the time and a reason why so many women went to see her movies. (May 1980 p, 119)

The injection of sound into the movies making industry provided a new incentive for moviegoers in the interwar period. The arrival of sound did not make a significant development until after the World War One. Initially, two different systems were...

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