chapter  2
WAR AND MONOPOLY
Pages 28

The fronts are everywhere. The trenches are dug in the towns and the streets. Every village is fortified. Every road is barred. The front lines run through the factories.1

Throughout the war, British film production had been running at a fraction of its capacity, rarely producing more than fifty films in a year. However, there was a consensus, both critical and popular, expressed in fans' boxoffice preferences and in the lengthy film columns of the 'highbrow'2 papers and magazines, that the industry was making up in terms of accomplishment for what it lacked in quantity. Roger Man veil, the influential critic and editor of the Penguin Film Review, wrote in 1946 of 'The great quality of British cinema, its independence and variety of style'.3 Manvell attributed this quality to the fact that British film was a microindustry, small and intimate: filmmakers possessed 'an individuality of style contrasting strongly with the rubber-stamp Hollywood entertainment'.4