Picture Perfect – Landscape Place and Travel in the British Silent Film

Picture Perfect


In 2003 the British Silent Cinema Festival explored the theme of landscape, location and travel in the British silent film. The idea originated from an oft-levelled criticism of British cinema, that it was overly studio-bound, dependant on theatrical traditions and therefore felt stagey, cramped and confined. Over 100 films later, festival attendees could conclusively nix this judgement and revel in the delightful outdoorsiness of our film heritage. Our landscape is still in many ways the biggest selling point of British Cinema today, this book surveys the origins of the use of the British location, both actual and fantasy, in film.

Picture Perfect: Landscape, Place and Travel in British Cinema Before 1930, edited by Bryony Dixon and Laraine Porter, and published by University of Exeter Press, is now available.

7 responses

  1. It’s good news that University of Exeter Press is now publishing the annual volumes from the British Silent Cinema Festival, after a gap of a few years. For the record, these are the previous volumes (all edited by Alan Burton and Laraine Porter, published by Flicks Books):

    Pimple, Pranks and Pratfalls: British Film Comedy Before 1930 (2000)
    The Showman, the Spectacle & the Two-Minute Silence: Performing British Cinema Before 1930 (2001)
    Crossing the Pond: Anglo-American Film Relations Before 1930 (2002)
    Scene-Stealing: Sources for British Cinema Before 1930 (2003)

  2. That Anglo-American Film Relations book looks really good. I’m studying Anglo-American relations in the late 1920s and Americanisation via cinema was a real pet subject for the editorial columnists to rant about. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin even warned about the dangers of American propaganda through film. Thanks so much for that info!

  3. It’s a fascinating subject just by itself, the rise of American power versus the decline of Empire, anti-Americanism going hand-in-hand with fondness for the products that America produced. It’s a particularly useful light by which to look at American films of that era in a British context, and how the British cinema saw itself. I recommend the book (particularly my essay in it!).


  4. I’m very glad to see this book finally (and my essay too!) – looking forward to the rest in the series as well…

  5. Hi Jude!

    Yes, the other good news is that University of Exeter Press is publishing the volumes from the succeeding British Silent Cinema Festivals (i.e. 2004 onwards). Anyone know when? One per year?

  6. Hello,

    Volumes covering the British Silent Film Festival’s of 2004 and 2005/6 will be published by Exeter Press soon. We hope that the 2004 volume (on the theme of the Great War) will be out later this year with the 2005/6 volume (British / European relations) to follow early next year.

  7. Thank you to britishsilents, who modestly declines to mention that she is co-editor of each of these volumes. And, from the evidence of Picture Perfect, an excellent job done too.

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