THE SCREEN’S THREATENING SKIES: AERIAL WARFARE AND BRITISH CINEMA, 1927-1939
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This dissertation supplements previously conducted research on aviation in interwar Britain by providing a necessary examination of the appearance of aerial warfare on British cinema screens between 1927 and 1939. It examines the presentation of the First World War, military aviators, the Royal Air Force, bombing, and aerial warfare to the British public. More specifically, it examines the connections between flying, aerial warfare, cinema, and the popular imagination in interwar Great Britain. It uses feature films, specifically Hell’s Angels, The Dawn Patrol, Things to Come, documentaries like RAF, The Gap, and The Warning, and newsreels. In additional to examining cinematic sources, it also extensively utilizes film press books, scripts, programmes, and British Government documents to determine the motives for producing these pictures, what influenced their writing, how they were promoted to the British public, and how cinema reviewers responded to them. It reveals that the cinema helped shape British perceptions of aerial warfare (and the First World War) during the interwar period, providing insight into how the British state and military interacted with the nation’s mass media complex. In doing so, it highlights the important, and often underappreciated, symbiotic relationship between mass culture and government policy.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeKent, Christopher; Meyers, Mark; Bartley, William; Vance, Jonathan; Smith-Norris, Martha; Regnier, Daniel
Copyright DateJanuary 2014
aerial warfare, cinema, Great Britain, interwar period