audience studded with celebrities and aristocracy watched the film,
offering rapturous applause for individual scenes. Afterwards, Walbrook
took the stage along with Wilcox and Neagle, using microphones to
address the audience. The enthusiasm at the premiere was echoed by both
critics and the general cinema-going public. Aided by an energetic
publicity campaign that saw Wilcox and Neagle travel
relations, and British viewers who fantasise about Australian class
iconoclasm. Yet, for obvious budgetary reasons, the film was primarily
aimed at North Americans, not necessarily versed in this specific
postcolonial issue, yet sensitive to its tension. Distributed by the
Weinstein Company, it met with unexpected and sustained success in the
USA, largely as a result of its inclusion of an older cinema-going
fraction of the cinema-going audience and
already subject to powerful mechanisms of assimilation, perfectly filled
the role of the non-white other whose negative representation conferred
whiteness upon the majority of the series’ viewers. The remainder
of this chapter looks in more detail at the Chronicles ’
representation of Native Americans, briefly delineating the contemporary
political situation that
Erik Bauer, ‘The Mouth and The
Method’, Sight and Sound , 8: 3 (1998), 7.
Willis, ‘The Father’s Watch the
Boy’s Room’, 67.
Peter Krämer, ‘A Powerful
Cinema-going Force? Hollywood and Female Audiences since the
cinema of reassurance
(London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 1–2. See also Marcia Landy, British genres: cinema
and society 1930–1960 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991) and
Jeffrey Richards (ed.), The unknown 1930s: an alternative history of the British
cinema 1929–1939 (London: B. Tauris, 1998).
Ross McKibbin, Classes and cultures: England 1918–1951 (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1998), p. 456.
John Sedgwick, ‘Cinema-going preferences in Britain in the 1930s’, in Richards
(ed.), Unknown 1930s.
Dennis Gifford, The British film catalogue, 1875–1970: a guide to
could afford to go racing more regularly, so further meetings would not
have generated sufficient profit. While cinema-going became a weekly event,
going to the races was still a special occasion.
In part this was because of the higher costs of admission, although not all
courses were fully enclosed. Free areas could still be found at a few long-established high-status flat courses like Epsom or Newmarket in 1939. At Epsom too
there was always Derby Sunday, when London working people, dressed up in
their best clothes, took a day out to picnic on the Downs and join in
Figures, p. 236.
M-O, File Report 1151, March 1942.
The Spectator, 2 April 1943.
M-O, File Report 2085, April 1944.
The Spectator, 2 February 1944.
In the case of cinema-going, however, people were reluctant to concede defeat: Mass-Observation found that it was the last pursuit to be relinquished.
File 486, 8 November 1940.
The Spectator, 18 October 1940.
Z. Katin, ‘Clippie’: the Autobiography of a War Time Conductress (John
M-O, File Reports 914 (trains), 1040 (buses).
Longmate, How We Lived Then, pp. 293–320.
Personal communication with the author