EMI and the ‘Pre-Heritage’ Period Film
First coined in the UK in the early 1990s as a new label for an ostensibly new, post-1979 kind and cycle of period cinema, the ‘heritage film’ is now firmly established as a widely used term and category in academic film studies. Although the heritage film’s defining features, ideological character and ontological coherence would remain debated, its status as a ‘new’ category hinges, self-evidently, on the presumption that the films of post- 1979 culturally English heritage cinema marked a new departure and were clearly distinct from their pre-Thatcher-era precursors. Yet, paradoxically, the British period/costume films of the preceding decade, the 1970s, have attracted almost no scholarly attention, and none which connects them with the post- 1979 British heritage film, nor the 1980s cultural and industry conditions said to have fostered these productions. This article pursues these questions through the prism of Britain’s largest film production and distribution entity throughout 1970–86, EMI, and EMI’s place as a significant and sustained, but little-acknowledged, force in British period film production throughout that time. In so doing, the article establishes the case for studying ‘pre-heritage’ period cinema. EMI’s period film output included early proto-heritage films but also ventured notably wider. This field of production is examined within the broader terrain of 1970s British and American period cinema and within wider 1970s UK cinema box-office patterns and cultural trends, attending to commercial logics as well as to genre and the films’ positioning in relation to the later heritage film debates.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Monk, C. (2021) EMI and the “Pre-Heritage” Period Film. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 18 (1), pp. 50–76
Research Institute : Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Leicester Media School