Marxism is the name for the body of work associated with the German revolutionary thinker and political activist, Karl Marx. Born in Germany in 1818, he died in London in 1883 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery in the north of the capital. He had lived most of his adult life in London as a political exile from the German authorities. Britain was the first country to undergo an industrial (especially textile-based) revolution. Before that, it had been developing capitalist agriculture for around two centuries and it had an expanding empire to boot. So, the British authorities probably calculated that Herr Marx was unlikely to be much of a threat to them. Possibly they even thought that the free market system so well entrenched already in Britain would deal with Marx more effectively than the police spies, either by driving him to gainful employment that would keep him otherwise occupied or by driving him to starvation. Marx called this the ‘dull compulsion of economics’. 1 Marx came close to starvation and it was only because of his lifelong friend and sometime co-author, Friedrich Engels (whose family owned a cotton mill in Manchester) that he was able to both survive and write, and leave the world with an explosive body of work. The world historical importance of that work is that, without Marx and Marxism, we would not have a coherent theoretical framework with which to understand the most powerful, paradoxical and dangerous type of social arrangements ever to exist: capitalism. This ‘framework’ though is not a finished body of work. It comes down to us with many different strands, arguments, disputes and controversies within it. It is a living, exciting, dynamic and historically developing body of work that has been made in response to the continuities and changes in the capitalist system it critiques. Marxism’s impact on modern culture – although often denied – is hard to overestimate. Its considerable influence in and through film and its major contribution 2to understanding film and the significant cultural impact film has had and continues to have, despite our new multi-media environment, are the subject of this book.