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Summary: British propaganda film showing a montage of the sights and (especially) sounds of Britain, where life continues despite the war.
Description: The film is introduced by Canadian barrister Leonard Brockington, but after this formal scene, the film has no commentary, consisting entirely of location footage with "live" sound. Scenes of trees and a wheatfield: Spitfires fly overhead, watched by land girls and Royal Observer Corps spotters. Shot of tractor and thresher leads to scene of farmhouse, where BBC Home Service is heard on the soundtrack. Waves on shingle; soldiers sit by the sea. Home Guard officer (?) puts on coat. Entrance to dance - HM Forces half price - soldiers chat with girls as "Roll Out the Barrel" is sung. Meanwhile, the Home Guard watch the coast. (Fade to black.) Miners go on shift; shots of mining village and pit head machinery. By signals, a train travels slowly through the night; on board, Scottish and Canadian soldiers sing "Home on the Range"; other soldiers chat and smoke cigarettes. Meanwhile the signalman changes the signals and the train moves off (almost invisible in the darkness). Wellington bombers being built; one takes off. Ambulance Station 76 - piano and song recital for female ambulance workers ("The Ash Grove" is being sung). (Fade to black) Big Ben chimes; BBC overseas service radio announcer says "This is London Calling" - against montage including shots of Houses of Parliament (in scaffolding), River Thames, BBC radio equipment (valves, amps etc) intercut with skies and sand. (Fade to black.) Trees, countryside at dawn; birdsong; horses are led past grimy industrial townscape. A man walks down bomb-damaged street while an "exercise" song plays on the soundtrack. Shots of power station, pithead, trees. A woman sets table, then, at her window, watches children playing a singing game in school playground opposite; she turns her head to look at photograph of soldier (her husband) in frame. Cut to Universal carriers driving down village street. "Music While You Work" music plays against shots of landscape, train crossing bridge over road, gasometers and other buildings seen from passing train, women workers in factory. Another shot from train. Railway station (with live sound). Troops assemble, mobile canteen, man painting wall (blackout ?). Inside canteen; food is dished out. Poster for Flanagan and Allen - cut to the real performers singing "Round the Back of the Arches". Canteen menu. Shots of audience (all workers). Cut to exterior of National Gallery, and in to poster FRI JUNE 13 1 O'CLOCK - THE ORCHESTRA OF THE CENTRAL BAND OF HM ROYAL AIR FORCE, MYRA HESS PIANOFORTE. Shots of Gallery lobby (with bomb damage), empty walls, concert audience, revolving gallery door, women eating on gallery steps, War Artist exhibition (with forces personnel visiting), postcard shop, sailor inspecting painting of harbour. Myra Hess takes the stage and plays Mozart piano concerto; music plays against montage of shots: audience (including Queen Mother and Gallery director Kenneth Clark), Trafalgar Square, the gallery, Nelson's Column, buses, barrage balloon overhead. Armour assembly line (with woman workers). Marching band on street, followed by large number of soldiers, bayonets raised. Steelworks scenes. "Rule Britannia" is played over the final montage of images: wheatfield, industry, power station, aerial shot of landscape seen through clouds.
Production Details: Ministry of Information (Production sponsor)
Crown Film Unit (Production company)
Dalrymple, Ian Murray1903-08-261989-03-28 (Production individual)
Jennings, Humphrey (Production individual)
McAllister, Stewart (Production individual)
Fowle, H E (Production individual)
Cameron, Ken (Production individual)
Mendoza, Joe (Production individual)
Wright, Dora (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations:
Keywords: propaganda (concept)
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: 1
Footage: 1789 ft; Running time: 19 mins
Notes: Remarks: catalogued here almost shot by shot to give an idea of the diversity of images and sound of this important and poetic film. Intended for distribution overseas, the Brockington introduction was later added to the film against the wishes of the directors.
Remarks: the Flanagan and Allen sequence was filmed in the canteen of the Royal Ordance Factory, Bourne Avenue, Hayes, summer 1941