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Summary: "A picture of the London front" represents Britain's earliest experiences of war in 1939.
Description: An introduction, showing children playing on captured German guns at the Imperial War Museum, recalls "20 years" since WW1. The superficial normality of Sunday September 3 is interrupted by Chamberlain's announcement of war and the first air-raid alarm (reconstruction). These early days of war bring "remarkable things": Londoners of all classes cooperate in preparing sandbag defences; the anti-militarist inter-war generation goes into military training. Much London life continues with superficial adjustments (ARP, reserve police etc) but hospitals, children, pets and art treasures are evacuated (the National Gallery and the British Museum), and more obvious signs of war appear (balloon barrage, army training and equipment, women in uniform); foreigners registered; the soldiers depart. A sequence implies the continuation of war (AA defences; aircraft and munitions production; hospitals etc) through the night and on into the next day, and the film ends on a confident note: "This is not twilight that has come to England: it is dawn, and dawn we hope, for more than England... The London Front still stands."
Production Country: GB
Production Details: GPO Film Unit (Production company)
Watt, Raymond Egerton Harry1906-10-181987-04-02British documentary film maker (Production individual)
Cavalcanti, Alberto (Production individual)
McNaughton, R Q (Production individual)
Sinclair, Robert (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations:
Keywords: propaganda, British - inspirational (object name)
society, British - history (object name)
society, British - precautionary (object name)
training, British military (object name)
Second World War & Chamberlain's declaration of war on Germany & 3/9/1939 (event)
GB, England & London, SE <Imperial War Museum> (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Subtitle language: None
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 2087 ft; Running time: 23 mins
Notes: Remarks: very well made. Perhaps a little slow, though this impression is largely attributable to hindsight comparing the scenes shown with the far more direct involvement in days to come.