John Mills and British Cinema: Masculinity, Identity and Nation

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Although his film career extended from the early days of sound to the New Wave and beyond, Sir John Mills is nonetheless remembered as the archetypal British hero of the Second World War. Regarded as an English 'everyman', his performances crossed the class divide and, in his easy transition from below decks to above, he came to represent a newly democratic masculine ideal.

But how is it possible for an actor to embody something as fluid and protean as national identity? 'John Mills and British Cinema' explores the cultural contexts in which Mills and the nation became synonymous, examining the actor's ongoing appeal to both audiences and directors across a 40 year period of radical social and political change. Through detailed analysis of a wide range of classic British films, John Mills and British Cinema exposes the shifting constructions of 'national' masculinity, arguing that the screen persona of the actor is a fundamental, and often overlooked, dimension of British cinema.

• Provides the first critical examination of the film career of Sir John Mills.
• Uses contemporary gender theories to examine the body of the actor as a crucial dimension of the film text.
• Explores the concept of a 'national cinema' from an innovative new perspective.
• Provides stimulating new readings of key British films, including Forever England, The Way to the Stars, Great Expectations, Scott of the Antarctic, Hobson's Choice, Ice Cold in Alex, Tunes of Glory, The Family Way and Ryan's Daughter.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages254
ISBN (Print)0-7486-2108-3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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