IWM Film website upgrade: self-selection and authorised download of HD clips. More info
By continuing to use this site without changing your cookie settings,
and for us to access our cookies on your device.
Summary: A strong lesson (in fictional format) on the universal danger of malaria, and on the military duty to take precautions.
Description: 'Private Bill Smith' is a conscript with the makings of a good soldier, but with profound contempt for the "meddling" concern of others for his health: "I'm a soldier, not a hot-house rose." Posted overseas, he ignores malaria precautions ("If you're going to get malaria, you'll get it no matter what you do") and gets the disease just before an important action. In feverish hallucinations he imagines, first, wounded comrades denouncing him (his sickness is almost equated with desertion), and then himself on trial for "wilful negligence"; His CO, MO, NCO and a fellow soldier testify as witnesses to his culpability and the harm his foolishness has caused both the army and himself. Admitting his guilt, Smith appears as judge and sentences himself to the "full torments" of malaria. After recovering and recuperative training, Smith returns to find a former colleague now his Sergeant, but is later seen as a Corporal, himself lecturing new arrivals on malaria. Closing title quotes Wavell.
Production Country: GB
Production Details: Directorate of Army Kinematography (Production sponsor)
Verity (Production company)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army (regiment/service)
Keywords: medical, British military - preventative: malaria (object name)
propaganda, British - precautionary (object name)
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: 3
Footage: 2716 ft; Running time: 30 mins
Notes: Remarks: basically a good and imaginative idea that is good to watch. The inserted passages of pure instruction inevitably slow the pace down if the film is to be considered only for entertainment value, but it is still a pleasure (and a surprise) to find the army adopting so novel an approach to an instructional film.