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Studying the British Crime Film$
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Paul Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733742

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733742.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Introduction: Rounding Up the Usual Suspects

Introduction: Rounding Up the Usual Suspects

(p.1) Introduction: Rounding Up the Usual Suspects
(p.iii) Studying the British Crime Film

Paul Elliott

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the British crime film, which is always a symbiosis of British sensibility and foreign (usually Hollywood) cinematic conventions. British crime cinema is obviously heavily influenced by foreign cultures; however, it is also inevitably shaped by indigenous histories and traditions. Crime film per se can be traced back to a variety of literary sources including detective fiction, Gothic writing, and gallows biographies like the Newgate calendar, eighteenth-century chronicles that detailed the crimes of those condemned to swing in Newgate prison. In recent times, this has extended into the impact of Brutalist architecture on the collective consciousness of the nation, the influence of political figures like Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair on public morality, and the prevalence of media images of contemporary folk devils such as the ‘hoodie’ and the juvenile delinquent. None of these things may be specific to Britain but their combined character shapes and characterises its cultural outputs. The history of the British crime film, then, is dispersed throughout a plurality of other histories and traditions and the same could be said for scholarly work concerned with it.

Keywords:   British crime film, British crime cinema, crime film, collective consciousness, public morality, juvenile delinquency, foreign cinematic conventions

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