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From: War Pictures

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Notes Preface 1. See Favret, War at a Distance. 2. Woloch, Or Orwell, 30. 3. MacKay, Modernism and World War II, 6. 4. Favret, War at a Distance, 10. 5. McLoughlin, Authoring War, 6. 6. MacKay,“Wartime Rise of The Rise of the Novel,” 137. 7. Barthes, S/Z, 5. 8. Despite or rather because of the war, the cinema was more popular and successful in the 1940s than any other time in Britain, experiencing what Michael Balcon, head of Ealing Studios from 1938 into the 1950s, called a “marked renascence” (“British Film During the War,” 66). Anthony Aldgate and Jeffrey Richards write: “The war was definitely to prove ‘a golden age’ as far as domestic films were concerned. In short, British films continued to play an important and necessary part in ensuring that cinemagoing in Britain remained, as it had been though out the 1930s, an ‘essential social habit’” (Britain Can Take It, 3). Lant points to several “reasons for cinema’s increased popularity, and the increased popularity of British films in particular. For one thing, higher wartime employment freed up spending money, while competing middle-class entertainments such as pleasure motoring and dining out were curtailed by rationing. Secondly, cinema fed the desire for news and information about the war for a wider selection of the population than any other medium” (Blackout, 24). See also Miller, British Literature of the Blitz, 152–88. 9. Trevor-Roper, Wartime Journals, 91. For more on the conceptual centrality of “the summer of 1940,” see Gallagher, Telling It Like It Wasn’t (Chicago: forthcoming). 10. Reeves, Power of Film Propaganda, 181. 11. For the relation between the residual, dominant, and emergent, see Williams, Marxism and Literature. 12. Formed in 1937 by Tom Harrisson, Humphrey Jennings, and Charles Madge and influenced by a number of diverse contemporary thinkers and intellectual currents (I. A. Richards, Bronisław Malinowski, and Surrealism among others), Mass Observation sought to develop tailored methodologies— 208 | Notes to pages xii–2 surveys, interviews, participant observation—that could help to account for the texture of everyday life in Britain. For more on Mass Observation’s “autoethnographic” project, see Buzard,“Mass-Observation, Modernism, and Auto-ethnography,” 93–122: “The persuasion that Britain stood in desperate need of auto-anthropologizing can be understood as deriving from the fear that the forces of unreason associated with humanity in the mass, and evidently on the march across the Channel, could overwhelm British people too, making it ‘easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians.’” See also Hubble, Mass Observation and Everyday Life. 13. See Clark,“For a Left with No Future,” 53–75. Introduction 1. Despite its early success, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp wasn’t released in America until after the war. When Martin Scorsese first saw the film “as a child on daytime television . . . sometime in the fifties, . . . the 163-minute running time had been mercilessly cut, and, thanks to the original ‘creative’ distributor, the flashback structure had been unraveled to present a linear narrative” (Haskell,“Life and Death of Colonel Blimp”). Ian Christie offers as clear an account as one could of the film’s several different edits (“Resurrection of ‘Blimp,’” 37). I have here to thank Doug Pfeiffer, who lent me that tape almost two decades ago. I keep meaning to return it. 2. Lejeune,“The Films,” Observer, June 13, 1943. With this, Powell and Pressburger seem to reproduce an ambivalence about reference, about aboutness that I discussed in the preface. 3. The phrase “Colonel Blimp” would have been very familiar to British audiences in 1943. The term, used to criticize an entrenched and reactionary old guard, comes from the political cartoons of David Low, which began to appear in the Evening Standard in 1934, and featured an aged and fulminating old officer, addressing current events while taking a Turkish bath. By the time Powell and Pressburger adopted it, the phrase had become a more general term of abuse, appearing for instance in Orwell’s wartime essays. What’s striking and complicated about The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is its effort to add nuance to what Low and then Orwell intended as a more or less straightforward insult. See Low, Years of Wrath. I’ll return to the tactical nuance of Colonel Blimp in chapter 1. 4. Durgnat,“Aiming at the Archers,” in The Essential Raymond Durgnat, 219. 5. Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed., s.v. “eccentric”: “Of orbital motion: Not referable to a fixed...