Cinema and Radio in Britain and America, 1920-60

By Jeffrey Richards

Cinema and Radio in Britain and America, 1920-60

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9110-4
  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.99
  • Published Date: April 2016
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, History: specific events & topics, PERFORMING ARTS / Radio / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, The arts / Films, cinema, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / History: specific events & topics
  • Series: Studies in Popular Culture


Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920-60 charts the evolving relationship between the two principal mass media of the period. It explores, for the first time in print, the creative symbiosis that developed between the two, including regular film versions of popular radio series as well as radio versions of hit films.

This fascinating volume, now available in paperback, examines specific genres (comedy and detective stories) to identify similarities and differences in their media appearances, and in particular issues arising from the nature of film as predominantly visual and radio as exclusively aural. Richards also highlights the interchange of personnel, such as Orson Welles, between the two media. Throughout the book runs the theme of comparison and contrast between the experiences of the two media in Britain and America. The book culminates with an in-depth analysis of the media appearances of three enduring mythic figures in popular culture: Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Students, scholars and lay enthusiasts of cinema history, cultural history and media studies will find this an accessible yet scholarly read.


A wide-ranging, informative, engagingly written, comparative media history.
J.E. Smyth, University of Warwick, Twentieth Century British History, vol 23, no 3, , 01/09/2012, J.E. Smyth, University of Warwick, Twentieth Century British History, vol 23, no 3,, 1 September 2012|This fascinating book looks at the parallel histories of cinema and radion on both sides of the Atalntic . . . Lovingly researched, and illustrated with interviews with many of the creative talents involved , the book will be especially welcome to historians of cross-media interactions on both sides of the Atlantic . . . I commend 'CInema and radio' as a significant contribution to our knowledge of 20th century media history.
Laurence Raw, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 2012, Laurence Raw, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television|"It will be of particular interest to historians of cross-media fertilization on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as those media historians interested in the way in which American cultural products have penetrated foreign cultures.", Laurence Raw, Baskent University (Ankara), Journal of American Culture 35.4, 1 January 2012


1. Hollywood and radio: the creative nexus
2. British radio and cinema: the creative tension
3. Filming radio genres i) comedy
4. Filming radio genres ii) detective stories
5. Broadcasting films
6. The radio studio as performance space
7. War and politics
8. The multi-media Pimpernel
9. Tarzan of the airwaves
10. The many voices and faces of Sherlock Holmes


Jeffrey Richards is Professor of Cultural History at Lancaster University

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