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Movie WorkersThe Women Who Made British Cinema$
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Melanie Bell

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043871

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043871.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The 1940s

The 1940s

Wartime Opportunities

(p.96) 3 The 1940s
Movie Workers

Melanie Bell

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how the Second World War had a significant impact on the British film industry. It continues the theme of secondary status by examining how this played out in the 1940s, a decade dominated by the Second World War and an official address to women to join the workforce as reserve labor. In the service film units, the chapter shows how women “free[d] a man for the fleet” by taking over roles in editing, projection, photography, and animation, while their work as assistants in art departments kept the “back room” of Britain's film studios functioning. It also draws on the experience of women in documentary directing to introduce the concept of the episodic-interrupted career as a defining characteristic of women's employment. The chapter uses the concept to illuminate the multifaceted nature of women's occupational profiles and, in doing so, disrupt the dominant, male-defined narrative of the continuous work history as the key indicator of career success.

Keywords:   Second World War, British film industry, reserve labor, service film units, women, art departments, British film studios, documentary directing, women's employment

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