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Shields also uses theories of ‘liminality’ to define Brighton’s reputation for criminality, with particular reference to Graham Greene’s depiction of the town in his novel Brighton Rock (1938), and also the news reports of the bank holiday riots of 1964. He argues that Bakhtin’s theory of the carnivalesque is central to understanding the construction of Brighton’s associations with liminal pleasure within British culture, and also Brighton’s changing image from Regency resort to Victorian gaiety, for instance.

For example, to view sites such as the Niagara Falls holidaymakers have to immerse themselves in numerous tourist activities, as ‘most visitors are not going to spend an entire day simply watching water tumble over a cliff’ (Bell and Lyall, 2002: 21). Theorising the Holiday 39 Their description of a trip on the Maid of the Mist sums this up, where even being provided with special waterproof coats defines the event ‘as something of an adventure’ (Bell and Lyall, 2002: 21). They suggest (like Urry, 1997) that the tourist will also be expected to buy souvenirs to remind them of the experience, and also ‘consume’ the landscape by photographing it.

Here were real, every-day people. Here was a very appealing and moving, natural love theme. (Mayer, 1948: 192) Similarly, another respondent (named as no. 23A) said that they could really relate to the ‘witty dialogue’ and characterisations in This Happy Breed which made the filmgoer feel as though they had ‘met that family’: The aunt who had ‘turns’, the harassed mother, the ‘boy next door’, once more you shared with them their happiness and sorrow, just as you did in In Which We Serve. (Mayer, 1948: 195) 24 The Holiday and British Film These findings would seem to suggest that audiences enjoyed films that they could relate to on an everyday level, although Harper also points out that from the Regent ledger of the 1940s, ‘audiences preferred films [such as melodramas] that dealt with their anxieties on a symbolic level, rather than those that alluded directly to their lives’ (Harper, 2006: 380).

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