By Ian Mackillop and Neil Sinyard

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The 1960s and 1970s films are, of course, in colour and it is a commonplace, but a telling one, that the black-and-white film has its authority stiffened by the authenticity of black-and-white newsreel footage and of propaganda masterpieces like Nine Men (1943). However that may be, these films and many more like them gradually matched their ideal but not, I think, idealised narratives to the social map of England.

31 It is interesting to note that the Ford films most admired by Anderson and Sequence were hardly ever the ones canonised by earlier criticism. After its fourteenth issue Sequence ceased to function for financial reasons. In March 1952 Anderson wrote to Ford personally that ‘my magazine has had finally to close down’ and he also humbly asked the American director for work. 32 The critical aesthetic introduced by Sequence at the end of the 1940s and after (objective realism; cinema as art; harmonic relationship between form and substance; critical affirmation of American cinema; and – particularly – auteurism) became established within British as well as European highbrow film criticism in the 1950s.

2 The last small scrap of evidence I want to produce by way of indicating something of the actualities of general and popular feeling in 1945 is also taken from Edward Thompson’s scattered memoirs of war. While his brother was in Bulgaria, Edward, aged barely twenty, was a tank squadron commander in the unbelievably arduous advance of the Allied forces up and down the vertiginous hills and valleys of the spine of Italy, from Anzio to Monte Cassino, and north through the Apennines. m. his tank was trundling and squealing toward the outskirts of Perugia, second in a troop reduced by battle damage to two.

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