British Maritime History, National Identity and Film, 1900-1960.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines the creation, transmission and preservation of the idea of Britain as a ‘maritime nation’ on film from 1900 to 1960. By placing an analysis of maritime films’ frequency, content and reception into the broader maritime sphere and the British film industry, this thesis explores how maritime symbols functioned to project national identity. Films are used as the major source to provide an evidential frame through which to assess the depth and functioning of maritime culture in mass culture. The thesis traces the origins of key concepts associated with a maritime identity to establish the configuration of maritime history in popular culture by 1900. It then examines the importance of maritime film production during the period 1900-1939; the representation of shipbuilding from the 1930s; maritime scenarios in Second World War film; maritime comedies; and post-war maritime films. It concludes by suggesting the reasons for the decline in the frequency of maritime film after 1960. The thesis argues first, that the relationship established in the Victorian period between the nation and the maritime sphere endured with remarkable strength. Only after 1960 was the contemporary element of this connection broken by a combination of the decline of the subject matter and by political and social change. The second argument is that to understand these films it is essential to consider them as a complete body of evidence as well as individual films in discrete time periods. By setting these films back into the tradition from which they came is it possible to understand how symbols of national identity became so embedded that they became unquestioned: the most powerful level at which such symbols operate.
AuthorsCarolan, Victoria Diane
- Theses