Secret histories and the dirty war: The 1970s Second World War film

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Spicer, A. H. (2010) Secret histories and the dirty war: The 1970s Second World War film. In: 'Going to War: Film History and the Second World War' , Imperial War Museum, October 2010, London, 22-23 October 2010. Available from:

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This paper focuses on a neglected period of the British war film (the 1970s) and argues that this was a volatile, unsettled period when the direction and ideology of the war film was in flux. Producers were unclear as to what would engage audiences. War films in the 1970s varied from peaens to old-fashioned values, romantic melodramas, experimental anti-war films and revisionist action thrillers. It concentrates on three 'special mission' films that focus on the 'dirty war' that did not feature in official histories. However, the three films analysed - 'Where Eagles Dare' (1968), 'The Sea Wolves' (1980) and 'Play Dirty' (1969) differ markedly in their attitude to the war: an exciting adventure, nostalgic and cynically acerbic respectively. They show that the 1970s was an important period for the British war film and deserves to be reconsidered. The paper contains a filmography of the 30+ 1970s war films.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1970s, war films, ideology, revisionism
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education
Depositing User: Professor A. Spicer
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2014 16:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 17:45


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