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Title: The culture of cruising : post-war images from the NMM's film archive
Author: Rich, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 1305
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines a film collection held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and seeks to establish the historical, cultural and aesthetic legacy of the post-war promotional cruise film. The textual and contextual analysis reveals the cruise film's unique reflection of an era of ideological, social and stylistic change. The thesis establishes an institutional and aesthetic history of the cruise film, focusing on the output of Orient Line, P&O, Union Castle and Cunard. The circumstances surrounding production of promotional material are explored, along with the ideological, commercial and stylistic legacy of the British Documentary Movement and British Transport Film initiative. Prototypical pre-war examples of the form are foregrounded and compared to the films produced through the 1960s. Alongside the cruise film's commercial and aesthetic origins, the thesis explores the image of the ship itself, as an eternal signifier of progress, divinity and nation. The cultural history of the ship as a signifier is traced alongside the visual discourses used to picture it within the cruise film. The 1960s cruise ship and its filmic representation is examined as a floating microcosm of emergent hedonistic and capitalistic tendencies. In an era of empowerment, liberation and increasing individualism, the cruise film balanced the traditional with the contemporary in its sometimes conflicted portrayals of life at sea. The final chapter of the thesis is devoted to the cruise film's reflection of fading British colonialism. As the British Empire fragmented and political liberalism spread throughout a new generation of young people, the cruise film's latent traditionalism and nationalism became anachronistic. Yet, beneath its swinging '60s aesthetic, the post-war cruise film continued to market its product as an implicit emulation of the colonial process. In conclusion, light is shed on the cruise film's paradoxical position, as advertisers sought to retain the allure of the ocean voyage in an era of mainstream jet travel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available