Questions of innocence and guilt

Child abduction and the representation of mothers in post-war british cinema

Janet Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The figure of the missing child is a recurrent and highly visible feature of past and present culture, not only the concern of extensive reporting in the media but also a frequent motif in the cinema, theatre, popular fiction and autobiographical memoirs. This article is focused on the ways in which British feature films of the 1950s and 1960s portrayed the experiences of losing a child through kidnap or abduction, exploring in particular how mothers were represented. Through an examination of the complex and contradictory discourses through which motherhood and the maternal role were constituted in these films, the article considers what they reveal about the shifting meanings of the mother-child relationship and the dynamics of gender relations in the home and post-war society more generally. The films discussed are Lost (1956), Tomorrow at Ten (1962) and Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

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abduction
guilt
cinema
post-war society
popular fiction
mother-child relationship
feature film
gender relations
motherhood
theater
examination
discourse
present
experience

Cite this

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Questions of innocence and guilt : Child abduction and the representation of mothers in post-war british cinema. / Fink, Janet.

In: Families, Relationships and Societies, Vol. 1, No. 2, 06.2012, p. 191-206.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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