Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. 10 x 2 hour seminar workshops
Practical 30 Hours. 10 x 3 hour viewing sessions


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 x 3000 word essays  Continuous Assessment:  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:

1. demonstrate detailed knowledge of a representative range of British films from the period;

2. demonstrate an informed awareness of their historical contexts of production;

3. analyse these filmic texts in a way that is informed by established critical and thoretical debates.

Brief description

The focus is upon films made during or immediately after the Second World War, a period when British film making is considered to have been at the height of its powers. You will be encouraged to consider how the set films problematise ideological formations concerning nationhood, the family, class, gender identity, sexuality and generational conflict. The syllabus begins with films made during the war itself and continues with work reflecting the war's longer-term impact on British culture, particular regarding class and gender. The distinctive, neo-romantic films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger ('The Archers'), raise questions about the politics of film aesthetics. 'Noir' thrillers like The Third Man or Brighton Rock invite questions about film style and constructions of masculinity. Through a concern with women's melodrama, we shall also consider representations of gender, and in particular psychoanalytic and feminist film theory. Powell's controversial Peeping Tom invites associations between psychoanalytic theory and cinematic voyeurism. The module closes with debates about social realism and marginal identities prompted by the New Wave's representation of Northern working-class life.


_Duration and Teaching

To be taught over one semester in 10 two hour sessions combining lectures and seminars: in addition a regular weekly venue/time will be designated for students to view set films on video.

  • NOTE: as this will be on WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS, please bear this in mind if you have other commitments.
FOR LEGAL REASONS THE TUTOR CANNOT 'LOAN OUT' VIDEOS TO INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS, but the films are usually available from local commercial rental outlets.


_1. Introduction

_2. 'How We Fight'
  • In Which We Serve (1942) (Noel Coward)
_3. 'Why We Fight'
  • either Went the Day Well (1942) (Cavalcanti) or A Canterbury Tale (1944) (Powell and Pressburger)
_4. Neo-Romanticism
  • either A Matter of Life and Death (1946) or The Red Shoes (1948) (Powell and Pressburger).
_5. The Post-War 'Spiv' Cycle
  • either The Third Man (1949) (Carol Reed) or Brighton Rock (1947) (Boulting Brothers)
_6. Women and Film I
  • Rebecca (1940) (Hitchcock)
_7. Women and Film II
  • Brief Encounter (1945) (David Lean)
_8. The Cinematic Gaze
  • Peeping Tom (1960) (Michael Powell)
_9. The New Wave
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) (Karel Reisz)
_10. Social Problem Films
  • A Taste of Honey (1962) (Tony Richardson) and/or Victim (1962) (Dearden)


This module is at CQFW Level 6