Abstract:
In analysing British cinema between 1945 and 1965, Tony Shaw (2001) argues that the influence of American cinema on British audiences was undeniable: ‘Hollywood films dominated the British market from the beginning to the end of the period and not to recognize the potentially significant role American productions had in shaping British perceptions of the Cold War would be misleading’ (p.4). Movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Forbidden Planet (1956) persist as potent symbols of an era which mixed fear of communism and nuclear war with utopian hopes for the technological conquest of other worlds. Whilst the political content of these popular films has been continuously reviewed by critics and scholars alike, the contemporaneous works of British filmmakers has received limited attention. In this paper, I will analyse a series of British films and television programmes which not only challenged or complicated the political content of prominent American SF productions, but crucially, made use of the speculative imagination to reflect upon the state-of-the-nation during a period of rapid technological and social transformation.