University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

“The Weak and the Wicked: Images of non-Conscripted Masculinity in British Cinema 1939 - 1945”

Elliott, Paul (2014) “The Weak and the Wicked: Images of non-Conscripted Masculinity in British Cinema 1939 - 1945”. In: The Home Front in Britain: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences Since 1914. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 170-184. ISBN 1137348976, 1137348984, 9781137348975, 9781137348982

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The BBC series Dad’s Army is a ubiquitous classic of the British sitcom. Often cited as an exemplar of comic form and characterisation it also, as Jeffrey Richards details, existed as a quasi-mythical vision of a Golden age of Englishness, where “a nation of eccentric individualists could be blended together to defend the county in wartime” (Richards, 1997, 362). In this chapter, however, I want to suggest that, underneath the jokes, the men of Dad’s Army shed light on what was a very real problem for filmmakers in the war itself: how to depict non-enlisted, non-conscripted males and, at the same time, aid in the war effort. Privates Jones, Pike and Walker especially (as the pensioner, the mummy’s boy, and the spiv) represented, as Summerfield and Peniston-Bird (2007, 170–190) convincingly detail, reoccurring and preformed versions of non-conscripted masculinity that also appeared time and time again in British wartime films. They directly mirrored character types that provided a noticeable counterpoint to the more dominant hegemonic versions of maleness proliferated by the mainstream and government-sanctioned culture.

Item Type: Book Section
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Copies of this title are held at the Hive. Staff and students at the University of Worcester can access the e-book version via the UW online library search. External users should check availability with their local library or Interlibrary Requests Service.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: non-conscripted males, British cinema, British war time films, World War Two
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Paul Elliott
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2019 20:32
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:26

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