Clio Edition 4 - page 31

could be transported to other countries more easily, and
spread more quickly as they were available to a much larger
For the silent film industry, the ‘silence’ amidst the action
was not so much a holdback as people were still not used to
seeing anything performed on a screen instead of on a stage,
so the novelty of watching an actual film was exhilarating
enough for everyone to enjoy it. Because there was no
dialogue, the actors had to convey what was happening
by exaggerated gestures and facial expressions, and thus
the characters tended to be the ones that everyone can
recognise. These stereotypes could have been influenced
by melodrama, but they could also have been forced there
because of the technical challenges of have no sound, which
meant that the storyline could not be too complicated.
Nevertheless, the British stereotype was still passed on from
theatre to film, and therefore from Britain to the rest of the
The most successful piece of British film is the
James Bond series, the first movie (Dr No, 1962) going
worldwide almost immediately. By the mid-20th century,
plays had gone out of fashion and had been replaced by
televisions and cinemas (movie theatres). The reason this
franchise was so popular was not just because of the action,
but also due to the dazzlingly handsome protagonist. To
foreign audiences especially, Bond’s crisp suits and his bad
boy attitude were the epitome of male perfection, and gave a
goal for men to strive to. He was the ultimate role model, and
the trick behind making fans love him even after 26 films is
that he lives the perfect life, so there is as much envy present
for James Bond as there is admiration.
The British stereotypes have had a large role to play in the
evolution of theatre in that they have introduced character
models that are now used worldwide and have also promoted
British values. From Shakespeare, to melodrama, to silent
films and to what is performed in theatres today, the British
stereotypes have been transported from one country to the
rest of the world. What is expected out of a piece of drama
has changed over the years, and so the quality of a play or a
film has also evolved alongside the rising expectations.
Theater goers in the twenties
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