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Heritage Film Audiences_x000B_

Heritage Film Audiences_x000B_: Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK

Claire Monk
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Heritage Film Audiences_x000B_
    Book Description:

    This book is a study of the contemporary audiences for quality period films, and their responses to these films, with reference to the critical debate which constructs many of these films as 'heritage films'.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4704-0
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Appendices
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-9)

    Films (and, in latter decades, television dramas/serials) set in the past have formed a prominent, both economically and culturally important, strand within British moving-image culture since at least the transatlantic success of Alexander Korda’s The Private Life of Henry VIII in 1933. Indeed, the longstanding visibility of culturally (if not always financially) ‘British’ period films in the global image market – subsequently joined by the BBC-TV Classic Serial format, which transferred from radio to television as early as the 1950s¹ – has generated a perception of these genres as not merely one of British cinema and television’s most reliably popular...

  6. CHAPTER 1 The Heritage Film Debate: From Textual Critique to Audience
    (pp. 10-28)

    To understand the particularities of the heritage-film critique in relation to its speculative projection of the films’ audiences and its problematic conception of the film–audience relationship – and the consequent issues which a study of the actual audiences for period films should explore – it is necessary to understand something of the specific British cultural–political climate from which the debate – and the concept of the ‘heritage film’ itself – emerged in the late 1980s to early 1990s. As my detailed work ‘historicising’ the heritage-film idea in relation to this context is presented in earlier publications, this chapter...

  7. CHAPTER 2 The Heritage Audience Survey: Methodology and Issues
    (pp. 29-46)

    The analysis presented in Chapter 3 onwards draws centrally on the findings of the Heritage Audience Survey: my detailed questionnaire-based survey of real members of the UK audiences for quality period films – including, specifically, culturally British ‘heritage’ and ‘post-heritage’ films – which was undertaken expressly for this study. Chapter 2 describes the development, practicalities and methodologies of the survey – including the sourcing of the survey sample, which comprised two demographically and culturally contrasting sub-samples of period-film viewers drawn from very different ‘populations’.

    The particular timing of the survey – the questionnaire was completed by respondents between the end...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Demographics and Identities: A Portrait of the Survey Respondents
    (pp. 47-77)

    Chapter 3 begins this book’s account of the identities, tastes and attitudes of the contemporary audiences for period films by establishing the age, gender and social-class profiles of the Heritage Audience Survey’s two (National Trust and Time Out) cohorts of respondents, and a wider range of indicators of identity pertinent to understanding and situating the broader ‘heritage film audience’.

    Bearing in mind the small size (and uneven cohort sizes) of the Heritage Audience Survey sample, I begin by doing this with comparative reference to the findings of the main (much larger) surveys conducted for the film and cinema-advertising industries.


  9. CHAPTER 4 Respondents’ Film Viewing Habit(u)s
    (pp. 78-91)

    Chapter 4 considers the main patterns and cultures of cinemagoing and domestic film viewing characteristic among the two groups who took part in the Heritage Audience Survey. The emphasis is on the general contours of respondents’ film-viewing habitus (i.e. their cultural practices in relation to film viewing: for a discussion of the concept of habitus as developed by Pierre Bourdieu, and its application in this study, see Chapter 3). Chapter 5 moves on from this to explore the range, and kinds, of films respondents had seen, and key features of the more detailed patterns of film taste found among the...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Patterns of Film Taste: Period and Non-Period Films
    (pp. 92-115)

    Chapter 5 shifts focus from the broad viewing context within which period films were consumed by Heritage Audience Survey respondents to an analysis of the breadth, and types, of films they watched and enjoyed or were aware of. My full analysis of the findings encompassed respondents’ patterns of awareness and taste in relation to films with non-period as well as period narrative settings: how many films (from lists presented in the questionnaire) they recalled seeing across these two broad categories; the place of films from the USA, Britain, other regions and non-English-language films in this viewing; and, above all, the...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Audience Pleasures, Attitudes and Perspectives 1: Visual Pleasure and ‘Authenticity’, Engagement and Escape
    (pp. 116-140)

    What did the survey’s respondents enjoy – or dislike – about the period films they watched? What attitudes and perceptions underpinned, and contextually and interpretatively informed, these preferences and responses? Of more specific importance, how far, and in what ways, did respondents’ positions and perspectives support or challenge claims about the putative aesthetic and political workings (and even implied ‘effects’) of heritage films? And in what ways were the wider critical discourses and debates around period films – around the representation and (re-)imagining of past historical periods or events; the reconstruction or simulation of the period mise-enscène; the process of...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Audience Pleasures, Attitudes and Perspectives 2: ‘Quality’, Literary Pleasures, Adaptation and Cultural Value
    (pp. 141-164)

    In a continuation of Chapter 6’s analysis, Chapter 7 explores respondents’ conceptions of ‘quality’ in relation to the period films they watched, and their positioning in relation to the ‘literary’ pleasures offered by many period films (including, but not solely with reference to, literary adaptations), and attitudes and expectations in relation to adaptation itself.

    Chapter 6 established that a large majority of Heritage Audience Survey respondents across both cohorts associated period films with ‘quality’, and that particular importance was placed on the – perceived high – ‘quality of the performances or acting’ (Question 29 replies: Appendix 6.1). Of course, agreement...

  13. CHAPTER 8 Conclusions: Period Film Audiences, the Heritage Film Debate and Audience Studies
    (pp. 165-182)

    This concluding chapter draws together the key findings and insights that have emerged from this book’s detailed investigation and analysis of the late-1990s ‘heritage film audience’ – or rather, ‘audiences’ – as represented by the two groups who participated in the Heritage Audience Survey, and considers their implications: for our understanding of period-film audiences, for the critical debate around heritage cinema which first motivated this project, and for the wider field of empirical film-audience studies.

    If we define this field as comprising work that engages directly with ‘real audiences’ to generate the material for its analysis – usually with a...

  14. Appendices
    (pp. 183-215)
  15. Selective Filmography
    (pp. 216-223)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 224-231)
  17. Index
    (pp. 232-240)