Film was the most popular cultural form in the 1930s, and the left in Britain made vigorous efforts to use film in its campaigning, inspired by Soviet directors such as Eisenstein.
Film-makers like Ivor Montagu, John Grierson, Ralph Bond, Helen Biggar and Paul Rotha began to make films aimed at workers and socialists, especially newsreels and documentaries. Workers’ film clubs were set up, often joining with the flourishing workers’ theatre movement, and many battles were fought over censorship and distribution.
This fascinating and thoroughly researched book casts new light on an important area of cultural politics and contributes to a greater understanding of the political potential of cinema.
Bert Hogenkamp is Professor of Film Studies at the Netherlands Audiovisual Archive in Amsterdam and author of Film and the Left in Britain 1950-1970.