Over 39 chapters The Routledge Companion to British Cinema History offers a comprehensive and revisionist overview of British cinema as, on the one hand, a commercial entertainment industry and, on the other, a series of institutions centred on economics, funding and relations to government.

Whereas most histories of British cinema focus on directors, stars, genres and themes, this Companion explores the forces enabling and constraining the films’ production, distribution, exhibition, and reception contexts from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

The contributors provide a wealth of empirical and archive-based scholarship that draws on insider perspectives of key film institutions and illuminates aspects of British film culture that have been neglected or marginalized, such as the watch committee system, the Eady Levy, the rise of the multiplex and film festivals.

It also places emphasis on areas where scholarship has either been especially productive and influential, such as in early and silent cinema, or promoted new approaches, such as audience and memory studies.


part |2 pages

PART I British silent cinema to the coming of sound: 1895–1930

chapter 4|10 pages

Designing the silent British film

chapter 5|9 pages

Stardom in silent cinema

part |2 pages

PART II The classic period: 1930–80

chapter 13|10 pages

Émigrés in classic British cinema

chapter 18|9 pages

The Children’s Film Foundation

part |2 pages

PART III Contemporary British cinema: 1980 to the present

chapter 27|11 pages

The Scala Cinema: a case study

chapter 29|11 pages

The rise of the multiplex

chapter 33|9 pages

The architects of BBC Films

chapter 36|10 pages

Distributing British cinema

chapter 37|9 pages

Memories of British cinema