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Title: Cinema on the Front Line : a history of military cinema exhibition and soldier spectatorship during the First World War
Author: Grosvenor, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 7322
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis – ‘Cinema on the Front Line: A History of Military Cinema Exhibition and Soldier Spectatorship during the First World War’ - provides an overview and examination of an element of British cinema history that remains largely undocumented within the disciplines of Film Studies and military history. Built upon highly original and extensive research, the thesis documents how the cinema intersected with the lives of British and dominion soldiers at practically every stage of their military career: from recruitment drives to the front line and, finally, in the convalescent hospitals and camps that attempted to rehabilitate an entire generation. By bringing this largely unknown history to light, the thesis dismantles many previously held assumptions regarding British cinema exhibition during the First World War, documenting how a significant percentage of the cinema-going public – British soldiers – still engaged with cinema entertainment outside of the commercial theatrical venue. As a study of historical exhibition, it documents the scale and orchestration of the British Expeditionary Force’s implementation of cinema entertainment on the Western front between 1914 and 1918. Significantly, it is also argued that, as a historically specific demographic, British soldiers represented an actively discerning and uniquely positioned body of wartime spectators, particularly in relation to the output of topical films and newsreels which purported to document the realities of the conflict. Accounting for this hidden history of wartime film spectatorship within extraordinary and unconventional sites of exhibition, the thesis challenges established ideas regarding the practices and concerns of film exhibitors, the behaviour and preferences of wartime audiences, and the significance and impact of the material conditions in which films were exhibited.
Supervisor: Kember, Joe ; Ramsay, Debra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Silent Cinema ; First World War ; Exhibition Studies ; Reception Studies ; British Military History