'Rose-tinted Blighty': Gender and Genre in Land Girls

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Land Girls (1998) is framed by the narrative voice of Stella (Catherine McCormack): one of the three members of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) — the land girls of the title — whose story the film tells. At the beginning of the film Stella’s voice offers some sketchy information about the wartime setting: ‘we all had to pull together to help win the war, we had to grow more food or starve’. She provides more about her own situation — she has left a comfortable office job to work the land and chosen the Lawrence farm to be near her fiancé, who is a naval officer. The camera focuses on her as her voice provides this little narrative, showing her arriving at the Lawrence farm with Prue and Ag(Anna Friel and Rachel Weisz respectively). Stella’s narrative voice is heard again only at the end of the film in a brief epilogue to its main wartime story signalled by the inter-title ‘After the War’. The emphases of the film that her opening narrative suggests — that it will focus on the private lives of the mobile wartime women at the centre of its story, that romance will play a part in this and that Stella’s story will be the most significant — are by now very apparent. Stella’s closing words reflect on her private life and make no reference to the war. But they also reinforce the nostalgic perspective of the film as she tells us that ‘there are things that will always remain in the heart’ before the final image of the film and the only one in black and white: a wartime photograph of Stella, Ag and Prue.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRepicturing the Second World War
Subtitle of host publicationRepresentations in Film and Television
EditorsMichael Paris
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780230592582
ISBN (Print)9781349280810
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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