Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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p. vii

List of illustrations

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pp. viii-ix

List of tables

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p. x

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General editor’s foreword

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pp. xi-xii

Unlike other works on British cinema in the Second World War, Richard Farmer’s book focuses not primarily on films but on the whole cinemagoing experience. Cinema going had become established as ‘the essential social habit of the age’ by 1939 and it continued throughout the war to...

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Acknowledgements

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pp. xiii-xv

Researching and writing a book can often be a fairly solitary pursuit, so it is with great pleasure that I thank the following people and organisations, not only for the practical assistance they have given me over the past few years, but also for providing me with the motivation, support and ideas I needed...

List of abbreviations

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p. xvi

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Note on sources

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pp. xvii-xviii

The spelling and punctuation of quotations taken from some contemporary sources has been amended in an attempt to ensure consistency and improve clarity. Such amendments have been minimal, and have not altered the meaning or spirit of the quoted material.

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Introduction

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pp. 1-21

After some seven months of Sitzkrieg, the Second World War on the western front burst into terrifying life in the spring of 1940. On 9 April, German troops entered Denmark and Norway. There was no time for Britain and France to offer any resistance to save the former...

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1. Dark houses: cinemagoing in the early months of the war

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pp. 22-57

For a brief moment at the start of the Second World War, the Welsh town of Aberystwyth became the centre of the British film exhibition industry. On 5 September 1939, exhibitors in Aberystwyth, acting on the advice of the Chief Constable of Cardiganshire, reopened venues...

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2. The Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association and the government

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pp. 58-92

Although the letters MoI are often, and understandably, used as the starting point when examining the relationship between the cinema and the state in Britain during the Second World War, the MoI was not the only government department to have a direct and intrusive influence...

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3. Forlorn and bedraggled spectacles: cinemagoing in the blitz

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pp. 93-126

Shortly after 5.15 p.m. on Friday 9 July 1943 the Whitehall cinema in East Grinstead, Sussex, was hit by a 500 kg high-explosive bomb dropped from a Luftwaffe plane during a tip-and-run raid.1 The cinema was a little under half full at the time, and 184 people were watching...

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4. On the appearance and disappearance of staff

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pp. 127-162

A cinema is not a building in which films simply happen; it is a building in which films are made to happen, a site where experience is created and consumed as a result of human action and human desire. A cinema is a vital, vibrant space, one given life and purpose by the people to be found...

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5. Showmanship in wartime

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pp. 163-198

As they attempted to induce the public to part with their money at the box office, British exhibitors made use of numerous techniques in order to sell their cinemas. True, the most important thing that a cinema projected was films, but exhibitors were equally keen to project an image of...

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6. Cinemagoing in wartime

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pp. 199-234

At one point during In Which We Serve (1942), Captain Edward Kinross (Noel Coward) and his wife Alix (Celia Johnson) take their children to the countryside for a picnic. It is the summer of 1940, and as they eat they watch as the Battle of Britain is fought in the skies above...

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Conclusion

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pp. 235-246

The State cinema, in the St Budeaux area of Plymouth, was opened in the autumn of 1939 and was damaged during an air raid approximately eighteen months later. Although the cinema ‘escaped complete destruction when a bomb fell almost on top of it’, its roof, even after a temporary fix...

Bibliography

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pp. 247-259

Index

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pp. 260-265