Film: 3468

Medicine | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

A military training film from the Army Kinematograph Service about the importance of DDT in keeping the fighting forces free from insect infestation. A rolling text sequence tells the viewer that DDT was made available to the UK and US forces in 1942.
Opening shots are micro photographs of a mosquito, louse, flea and fly. Reconstruction of the discovery of the chemical by Otto Meyer Zeigler (?) in Germany in the 19th century during the Franco-Prussian war. This is illustrated with newspaper headlines and a super-imposed skull, ending with an extreme close up of the skull against a black background. Scientists in a 1940's laboratory look through microscopes and carry samples. Micro photography of an insect eating. An army officer outlines the problems of insect infestation, especially since the South East Asian theatre opened up. A map of the Pacific indicates the Second World War areas of invasion down to Australia. Close ups of the map specify Japan, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) as problematic. Good shot of the army officer standing against the mantelpiece with the map behind him. Further areas are pointed out in close up on the map - Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Italy, Burma - as areas of possible insect infestation. Exterior of School of Tropical Medicine in London. Interior of chemical bottles on shelves and scientists testing DDT. Tests on lice - the lice must be fed on blood so scientists keep them in capsules with a thin gauze cover and attach them to their own legs to feed. Close ups of lice being removed from capsule with tweezers and on DDT impregnated cloth in a dish. Microphotography of lice dying. Experiments on flies - they are put into a cabinet and liquid DDT spray kills them. Testing of DDT in slums to kill bedbugs - a pest control man sprays a slum bedroom (lots of peeling wallpaper) to kill the bedbugs. Microphotography of bedbugs dying! Experiments on malaria carrying mosquitoes. Mosquitoes feed off a scientist's arm. Room infested with mosquitoes is sprayed and they die. Scientist sucking malaria-infected water up through a pipette. Close up of drops of DDT going into a dish infected with malaria mosquito larvae. Microphotography of slow death of larvae through paralysis of nervous system. Experiments in the field - water infected with malarial mosquitoes is sprayed with resultant death of mosquitoes. Scales in a glass cabinet carry DDT chemical as commentator asks if it is fatal to man. Experimentation on a rabbit - patch on the skin and a tube down its throat. Room full of caged rats. In the laboratory the scientist takes samples of the organs of the tested animals to test their reaction. Lots of glass slides, pipettes and chemicals in dishes. Exterior of Royal Army Medical Corps Army School of Hygiene with troops marching past in the background. Human volunteers are issued with DDT-impregnated shirts for one month. Volunteer puts shirt on. Volunteer sleeping in shirt. Doctor examines soldier's eyes. Three men washing their faces. Soldier having injection for blood test. Soldiers in mess drinking Guiness, smoking and playing cards. Chemist pouring solution in to a test tube. Soldiers running through a forest. Man being examined by a doctor with a stethoscope. Factory producing DDT - workers mixing chemicals, moving drums, cleaning equipment, mixing vats of the chemical, shovelling powder DDT, sorting onto trays for drying. Making of DDT products by women in factories - filling cans of AL63 (talcum powder and DDT); men in factories mixing oil and DDT in drums; men making DDT-impregnated shirts for the D-Day landings; women packing them in the factory. Transport, tanks, troops, supplies, ships preparing for D-Day. Troops marching onto the ship, at sea, the landings on the beach, Normandy, World War Two, and moving forward into the towns. Dead horse lies in foreground as tank goes by in the background. Soldiers walking through the rubble of destroyed towns. Soldier not wearing a respirator sprays walls, under bedding, in the cookhouse and outside (the latrines?). Mobile laundries re-impregnate shirts with DDT - giant tanks of liquid DDT wash shirts. Prisoners-of-war, most notably German as far as the narrator is concerned, are de-loused as they enter the marshalling area of camps. AL63 is sprayed between the layers of their clothing and skin. Close up of can of AL63. British guards are also de-loused. Women in factories make soda water sparklet plugs filled with DDT. Women working at machines. Man testing spray power of soda sparklets. Airplane loaded with DDT spray and tested on British soil. Good shots of plane taking off, flying and spreading DDT (top dressing) on ground. Cards placed on ground with mosquitoes and larvae on them to test effectiveness of insecticide. Tests also carried out in Asia - airplane takes off over jungle. British troops in Asia, possibly Papua New Guinea, tramping through mud in jungle, close up of boot in mud, shooting at the enemy, swimming through a lagoon, throwing a hand grenade from the edge of the lagoon. DDT sprayed in the jungle, soldiers in battle, capturing the enemy and disinfecting foxholes and tents with the soda siphon sparklets. Soldier in hospital on a drip. Civilian uses of DDT using the example of Naples, Italy. Child lying dead amongst the rubble. Close up of crowds of distressed Neapolitans begging for food, collecting contaminated water from a sewer. Nun in a hospital (dramatic reconstruction) admits a typhus patient to the ward. Increase in cases of typhus indicated on a graph. Nun pulls blanket over dead typhoid victim. DDT brought into Naples in 1944 and within a month the epidemic was over. Civilians sprayed - an old man and a child both looking puzzled. More scientists in laboratories. Children playing in slums. Children drinking milk and walking through the forest - to a better world after the war according to the commentary.


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