Cinemas were, for tens of millions of Britons each week, an element of everyday life, and cinemagoing was a cultural and experiential activity that was at once exciting and mundane. Changes to pre-established ideals of cinemagoing were, therefore, significant; popular reactions to such changes, which were used by bodies such as the Metropolitan Police to gauge morale, no less so. Establishing the parameters of the study, the introduction also, explains the varying meanings of the word ‘utility’, from which the book takes its title’ and provides an overview of the British exhibition industry in 1939 in order that the changes that occurred during the war can be understood in their proper context.
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