Charlotte Brunsdon's illuminating study explores the variety of cinematic 'Londons' that appear in films made since 1945. Brunsdon traces the familiar ways that film-makers establish that a film is set in London, by use of recognisable landmarks and the city's shorthand iconography of red buses and black taxis, as well as the ways in which these icons are avoided. She looks at London weather - fog and rain - and everyday locations like the pub and the housing estate, while also examining the recurring patterns of representation associated with films set in the East and West Ends of London, from Spring in Park Lane (1948) to Mona Lisa (1986), and from Night and the City (1950) to From Hell (2001).
Brunsdon provides a detailed analysis of a selection of films, exploring their contribution to the cinematic geography of London, and showing the ways in which feature films have responded to, and created, changing views of the city. She traces London's transformation from imperial capital to global city through the different ways in which the local is imagined in films ranging from Ealing comedies to Pressure (1974), as well as through the shifting imagery of the River Thames and the Docks. She addresses the role of cinematic genres such as horror and film noir in the constitution of the cinematic city, as well as the recurrence of figures such as the cockney, the gangster and the housewife. Challenging the view that London is not a particularly cinematic city, Brunsdon demonstrates that many London-set films offer their own meditation on the complex relationships between the cinema and the city.
CHARLOTTE BRUNSDON teaches in the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. She is the author of The Feminist, the Housewife and the Soap Opera (2000) and Screen Tastes (1997).
Acknowledgments.- Introduction: Impossible Geographies.- 1 Landmark London.- 'This is London.- The Bus, the Pub and the Fog Uncanny London: Undoing the City.- 2 Local London A Little London: Ealing Studios Horace Ove's London: Pressure South London: A Changing Grammar of the Local Other Local Londons.- 3 Going Up West Pleasant London: Spring in Park Lane West End Noir 1: Night and the City West End Noir 2: Mona Lisa The Global West End: The Film Star and the Refugee.- 4 The London Underground Mr Beck and Gert and Daisy.- The Strong Stories of the Underground The Tunnel Tigers and the Good Fairies of the Underground.- 5 The Gangster, the Ripper and the Housewife London Horror: Murderous Places East End Noir Performing the Old East End: The Krays Coda: 'Fashion Street.- 6 Thames TalesFrom the Pool of London to the 'Pont de la Tour The Spaces of Empire: Pool of London The Temporalities of The Long Good Friday The River of Dead People and the River of Ghosts Afterword: The Poignancy of Place Three Forms of Melancholy And a Chance Encounter.- Selected Bibliography.- Index.