British Cinema and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

During the Interwar Years 1919-1939

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Few people are aware of the complex relationships between the British intelligence services and Britain’s film production companies during the interwar years. The Z organisation set up by Col. Claude Dancey quietly replaced the official Secret Intelligence Service’s system of agents after it was discovered that the Germans had uncovered their network leading to the incident at Venlo in 1939. The Z organisation depended on reports from business men visiting Europe and was materially assisted by Alexander Korda. Alfred Hitchcock directed a series of films aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing threat from Nazi Germany. London Films, Gaumont British and Twickenham Studios all took a hand in supporting Churchill and disarming the Pacifist Movement, encouraging patriotism and preparations to face the threat of Hitler’s armed forces. Hitchcock and Korda later moved operations to the United States where they worked on films supportive of British interests and Korda provided cover for the American branch of the SIS.


Merle Peirce


Father Peirce has studied and received multiple degrees in English, Film, Comparative Literature/Africana Studies and Media as well as Theology. His particular research interests lie in British film and detective literature of the interwar years, as well as transportation history and the development of gay sensibilities, particularly in film.

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LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing


British Cinema, Espionage, propaganda, Alfred Hitchcock, Alexander Korda, invasion novel

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HISTORY / General