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Summary: British fictional film placing the buying of National War Savings Certificates among the conventional attributes of a hero in a story of working class romance, 1917.
Description: (Reel 1) Dolan is a London tramp living by a munitions firm at which work three men. Mr Cambray goes to his well-kept home with a wife, an adult daughter and a younger daughter. Mr Morton lives with Mr Morrison and his wife nearby in a slovenly house. Mr Cambray gives his wife the bulk of his wages to buy War Savings Certificates. Morton and Morrison take a taxi to play cards elsewhere. At work the manager gives a speech asking the workers to save their money. Later, Mr Cambray is "combed out", and called up for the Army. His wife is confident that she can get work at the factory. Meanwhile their younger daughter is nearly killed when her foot is trapped by a railway crossing with a train coming. Dick Dolan risks his life to save her, to the relief of her sister, and spectators give him a reward of a few shillings. He realises later that he has fallen in love with the elder sister. Wandering through Trafalgar Square he buys on impulse with the reward money a War Savings Certificate from the "Tank Bank", and so becomes a "shareholder in the Empire" and begins to regain his self esteem. (Reel 2) He gets work at the factory shipping cartridges. Noticing a poster that each certificate buys 124 cartridges he adds to one box a note that he, Dick Dolan, sends that number to France. Mrs Cambray, working at the factory, often invites Dick over for Sunday tea, and he is now saving regularly. Meanwhile Mr Morrison gets into a fight in a card game, is badly hurt and laid off work for several months. On the Western Front Mr Cambray's unit fights off a German attack. He finds Dick's note among his cartridges, which are fired through a Vickers machine gun. Meanwhile Mr Morrison is in financial trouble. Dick offers to lend him the money he has saved and Morrison promises to reform when he recovers. But Mr Morton is forcing his attentions on Miss Cambray, who has come with Dick. Finding them, Dick knocks Morton senseless to the girl's relief. Mr Cambray has come home on leave and shows his family his souvenirs, including the note. His wife explains who Dick is. At this point Dick enters and declares his intention of marrying Cambray's daughter. The film ends with Dick accepted as a member of the family.
Production Details: National War Savings Committee (Production sponsor)
Broadwest Films (Production company)
Gill, Basil (Production cast)
Macmahon, John (Production cast)
Beaumont, T (Production cast)
Hopson, Violet (Production cast)
Bottomley, Delia (Production cast)
Personalities, Units and Organisations:
Keywords: propaganda, British - practical (object name)
society, British - domestic (object name)
society, British - romance (object name)
weapons, British - smallarm: Vickers machine gun (object name)
combat [simulated], British (object name)
GB, England & London, WC <Trafalgar Square> (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Silent
Soundtrack language: None
Title language: English
Subtitle language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 1841 ft; Running time: 32 mins
Notes: Remarks: propaganda at its best. The film is genuinely interesting and entertaining, and much too improbable to be taken as anything but fiction. The propaganda theme, the purchase of War Savings Certificates, is the mainspring of the plot: the conventional wish-fulfilment 'happy ending' comes about as a consequence of saving. All who save are good, and display the stylised attributes of good characters. All who do not save are bad or stupid. By building the propaganda message into the film and drama conventions of the period it has been conveyed with great simplicity and skill.
Production date: Re film IWM 537, The Adventures of Dick Dolan (1917).
"My grandmother Delia Sparkes (then Delia Bottomley) acted in this film, aged 10. Delia no doubt took part because her father Herbert Holford Bottomley was in charge of publicity for War Savings and was the instigator of the "Tank Bank", whereby War Savings Cetificates were sold from a tank parked in Trafalgar Square, for which he was awarded the CBE." (11/11/2012 email from Stephen Watson)
"We have a photo in a family album which I believe shows Delia with Violet Hopson (who played her mother) on the set of this fim. In a letter to Delia dated 23 Dec 1917, H Holford Bottomley wrote "Have you taken Aunty & Uncle to see you on the film at the City Cinema yet? It will finish at the end of Christmas week in Leeds so you should go soon." Delia was spending Christmas with relatives in Leeds, probably because of the threat of Zeppelin raids on London where the family lived." (12/11/2012 email from Stephen Watson)