Film: 3938

War + Military | 1960 | Sound | Colour

Synopsis:

A promotional and recruitment film for the Womens' Royal Army Corp, looking at training and career options. Sexist and patronising.

The screen is mauve, with one thick, dark, horizontal band across it; in this band there is a drawn image of a woman's eyes; she is wearing thick-rimmed glasses; underneath this image, further horizontal bands, containing titles, appear; the titles indicate that Marjorie Proops will be the narrator.

Two women (dressed alike in white blouses with ribbon neck ties) are playing as a band for a youth club discotechque; one woman plays the drums and the other plays a guitar and sings; the lights are up; on the wall behind them is a wall-hanging (with pictures of tea-pots and jugs). A large room, full of young men and women dancing, some awkwardly and all in a very sober fashion, to the music the band is playing; the lights are up; all the young people are dressed modestly. Another shot of the two women playing and singing. Another shot of the dance floor, with one girl beginning to dance to the music with a bit of feeling!; the shot widens to show more of the dancers - some are probably not yet in their teens - and all of the band; the band, called the Travellers, consists of the two women already mentioned and a third woman (similarly dressed) on double bass. Shots of girls (members of the youth club) sitting talking together about their futures; they are soberly dressed; one girl has fashionable glasses; they talk about whether they would like to work abroad. Another shot of girls dancing in the Youth Club (one is wearing a headscarf) and then of the three-woman band, which Marjories Proops tells us is a band of 'girl soldiers'.

Young woman in army uniform sitting at a table next to a window writing; her cap and gloves lie on the table. Another young woman in army uniform is sitting on a bed in a sparsely furnished room; there are three large soft toys scattered around the room; another young woman in army uniform asks her for a stamp, which she finds and gives to her. A wider shot of the same room, showing the three young women just described who are, in fact, in the same room in army barracks; the first woman is still sitting at the table writing; the shot widens to show a fourth young woman in army uniform standing by a bed, as the third woman goes over to her and takes a letter from her, ready to post; Marjorie Proops describes the room as much nicer than many hotel rooms she has stayed in: 'It's bright and gay and feminine'. Close up of the fourth young woman putting on her dark beret - her name is Gill. Shot of Gill, dressed in uniform, leaving the barracks building, walking across a covered walkway (of an unusual design) and into the grounds. She walks towards the camera, looking smart, confident and happy, with the barracks building in the background.

Shot of the parade ground, with a group of women in uniform marching, widening to show the buildings and grounds of the 'up-to-date' Women's Army Corp Depot at Guildford; including a line of parked cars. New recruits, dressed in civilian clothes (one wearing knee-high white socks with a skirt) and carrying suitcases, come out of a red-brick building and are given directions by a woman in uniform. The new recruits, accompanied by a female soldier, walk along a roadway, past a modern building. Close up of Gill, standing next to the building, which is sign-posted 'Junior Ranks Dining Room'; she watches as the new recruits pass by; while Marjorie Proops explains that Gill, not long ago, was a new recruit but now is 'cool as cool'; Marjorie is struck by the 'poise these girls have'. The new recruits continue walking down the roadway, as the camera draws back to show more of the open green aspect of the grounds either side of the road. The new recruits, and one female soldier, stand in a small medical room, while an army nurse in a white uniform measures the height of one new recruit, using a wooden measuring frame; the new recruits are all in civilian clothes and have bare feet. Close up of the face of the nurse as she measures the recruits. Close ups of the nurse's hand bringing down the wooden measuring rod to the head of the recruits in turn.

The recruits, now dressed in army uniform including berets, stand outdoors; one recruit is standing in front of a long mirror and a female officer uses her to demonstrate to the group how to salute correctly. Close up of the instructress and the recruit on whom she is demonstrating the salute. Close up of the recruits, standing outside, in a line, looking smart in their new uniforms; Marjorie Proops comments that girls should be critical about clothes, whatever their job.

The new recruits, in uniform sports clothes (with skirts), stand in a field watching as a gym instructress demonstrates a physical exercise; the girls then do the exercise at the same time as the instructress. Close ups of the girls doing the exercise. Young women in uniform sitting writing at desks in a classroom, with a large globe in one corner. The female teacher, dressed in army uniform, uses a pointer to indicate places on a very large map of Europe. Close up of the young students listening attentively to their teacher.

Close up of the top of a woman's head, showing the silver badge on a red patch on the dark beret. The woman's head is that of a female soldier who is driving a large vehicle. In the rear of the vehicle are several young men, wearing uniform, including light blue berets, and carrying rifles. Another shot of the female driver and a view of the country road ahead. Another close up of the driver (who is not wearing her seat-belt). Shot of the vehicle, which is a dark mini-bus, travelling along the country road and then being parked on the grass; number plate 09EP00; Marjorie is meanwhile explaining that 'the girls learn to drive all sorts of vehicles from staff cars, often with DREAMY officers in them, to Land Rovers and even heavy lorries'. As the mini-bus stops, and the driver and the 'boy soldiers' all get out, Marjorie explains that the girl driver has brought the group of boys to a firing range. The men all gather around the female driver, while she stands with her back against the mini-bus, as Marjorie explains that this is certainly not a women-only life. An officer calls the men to fall in, which they do while the female driver, standing by the vehicle, watches on. The men, carrying their rifles, run across the grass and throw themselves down, in a line, at the firing point. As the sound of gunfire is heard, the female driver is shown polishing the wing-mirror on the mini-bus and then standing watching the (unseen) men. The men are now lying flat on their stomachs, in a line, firing. Close up of an officer who watches through binoculars. View of the targets.

Close up of a helicopter taking off. Close up of the top of the tail end of a helicopter (which is on the ground), with a young female soldier in a brown jacket inspecting it. Helicopter, standing on a helicopter pad (at, presumably a heliport) with two young womens soldiers, in brown jackets and trousers, checking over the helicopter; two male trainee piliots in flying overalls aproach. The two men speak briefly with the women, who then leave. The men get into the helicopter.

Close up of a black file, closed; hands then open it and point a pen at writing/figures on the account sheets inside. Close up of a young woman in uniform looking down. Stores room, with a long counter, on one side of which two young female soldiers are standing; they are the store attendants; on the other side two male soldiers are standing, each speaking to one of the female store attendants. Close up of one of the women standing, with the other walking behind her across the store room. Close up of one of the men, in brown uniform overalls and blue beret. Close up of one of the female attendants as she turns, walks to the far side of the store room, takes a piece of equipment or part and returns with it to the the male soldier who has requested it; he writes in a book (presumably signing for the part) on the counter. Close up of the man holding the item and turning a moving part on it.

Two helicopters on helipads, one in the foreground and one in the distance; in between, a helicopter (which has presumably just taken off) flies away slowly; as the camera follows the moving helicopter, more helicopters sitting on helipads are seen in the distance, and three men are seen working on the helicopter in the foreground. Close up of a young woman, in brown overalls and blue beret, in the cab of a vehicle, driving forward as she looks out of the driver's window to see behind her; she is a specialist driver. The vehicle, a Land Rover, tows a helicopter across tarmac, with a hangar-like building behind, and a man in overalls looking on.

Close up of a very grand chandelier hanging from the ceiling of a magnificent room, with columns, arches and gold decoration; the shot widens to show that it is a vast dining room, the Royal Artillery Mess at Woolwich; large oil paintings hang on the wall and there is a large white marble romanesque or greek statue; the long wooden tables are laid with white table linen, cutlery and glassware, and huge silver figures and ornaments (the regimental silver?); men in white jackets and women in blue and red army uniforms are preparing the tables. A female soldier carries a wooden tray containing white napkins, ornately folded into peaks, one of which she puts in each place setting; close up of a place setting, with the hand of another woman setting down a white napkin. A woman dressed as a catering assistant (in white, with a white turban-type (Hilda Ogden style) headdress) takes a pile of white plates from a cupboard, places them on one of the stainless steel surfaces in a spotless kitchen or servery; there is a large stainless steel contraption (probably some sort of ornate urn) in the room; a woman in a white shirt and tie, carrying a bowl of pink flowers, walks towards the camera, as a man in white jacket and black trousers walks across the back of the servery. A woman, in a blue and red uniform, straightens her tie and hair in a mirror; in the reflection of the mirror, men and women are hurrying around the servery. Women, in the same uniforms, lay serviettes on the tables; another female soldier straightens itmes on the table. Close up of magnificent silverware on the tables, including a small silver heavy gun on wheels, with a woman's hands straightening table settings in the background.

Close up of the firing arm of a heavy wheeled gun, firing. Heavy, wheeled anti-aircraft guns, on grassland, with male soldiers; on a gravel terrace above, the officer in charge stands holding a type of microphone (with a long lead); nearby a young female soldier (in overalls and beret) is seated at a table; she is wearing headphones and is operating equipment on the table; a red flag flies from the table. Close up of the woman talking into some sort of speaker and then turning to talk to the officer. Close up of the officer in charge of the anti-aircraft practice shoot, as he speaks into the microphone, closing the shooting range; in the background is an army vehicle with a large revolving section on top (a radar?). Inside a control room, with views of the countryside through its large windows, two female soliders are seated at desks; a third stands nearby; an older male soldier, in charge, stands behind them. Close up of one of the women, wearing a headset and speaker horn, sitting with a large chart in front of her, checking the progress of an aircraft. Close up of the officer in charge. Close up of a woman, with headphones, in a darkened room with a red light, advising that the aircraft is clear. In the control room, the officer in charge tells the female corporal to check, which she does by leaning to look into a funnel-shaped viewer; she confirms 'clear of aircraft' and the man gives the order 'range open'. Close up of one of the female soldiers, with headphones and speaker horn, repeating the order into her speaker, and then reaching over to a display board which she changes from 'Range closed' to 'Range open'; there is a bank of telephones on the windowsill in front of her. Close up of the female soldier at the table outside on the practice shoot, receiving the order through her headphones and passing it to the officer in charge, standing by her side. The male officer speaks into his hand-held microphone as he gives the order 'range open'; the young woman sits at the table next to him. Shot of the heavy, wheeled anti-aircraft guns firing, with male soldiers operating them and standing around; one male soldier holds up a red flag. Close up of the male officer in the control room, looking through binoculars. Close up of one of the guns, with three male soldiers, firing. Close up of the woman at the table.

A riding school, with the large stable buildings in the background and a fenced field in the foreground; several horses, with riders, are walking around the field in a line; two women watch from the fence. Close up of a female rider, wearing riding breeches, a hard riding hat and army uniform jacket. Close up of the male army instructor, in a peaked cap, on a horse, watching the (unseen) riders. Close up of the horses (and their riders), some walking, one cantering, around the field. Longer distance shot of the field, with the riders beginning to put the horses into formation. Large, grassed stable courtyard; horses peering over their stable doores; one horse is standing on the open grass area, with the male army instructor (in a peaked cap) and a female soldier (in light-coloured trousers and jumper). Close up of the man running his hand over the horse and then turning to the woman who is holding the reins; she passes him an implement, which she has taken out of her pocket, and hen bends over and uses it to scrape the horse's hoof. Close up of the head of the horse and the woman, who pets and talks to it.

Large kennels with young female soldiers, in light-coloured trousers, dark jumpers and berets; the women walk with dogs, carry buckets, pull rope, pet the dogs. Several young female soldiers are standing in a line; each is grooming an alsatian dog; another woman with an alsatian walks past. Close up of one young woman grooming an alsation. Close up of another woman cuddling and examining her dog. Close up of a young woman (in the same trousers, jumper and beret) standing in a field, with an alsatian on a lead sitting beside her. Longer distance view of the field where several female soldiers are taking part in dog obedience training; the women are standing in a line, each with an alsatian lying beside them, and are being instructed by a male officer, who also has an alsatian at his side. Close up of the male officer shouting a command. The women walk their dogs in a line. Various shots of the male officer and the female soldiers as the dog obedience class continues, including a dog putting his paws on a woman's shoulder and a dog jumping over a woman's bent back.

A soldiers' discotechque, with the lights up; quite a crowded room but all very sober in their manner of dancing and in their civilian dress; the men are in suits and ties; some contemporary hairstyles; at one side of the room, a table is spread with a buffet and bottles of wine. Various shots of the dancers, including a close up of their feet. The dancers clap as the music stops. The alcohol is served by a woman behind the table.

Close up of Gill, in army uniform, sorting mail into a large set of pigeon holes at the army's own Post Office in Mill Hill. Wider view of the sorting room, with several women in uniform standing sorting mail into pigeon holes, with another female soldier pushing a basket of bundled mail on a trolley; a man pushes a low trolley of mail bags; there are racks holding up, and open, large blue mail bags. Close up of a female soldier sorting bundled mail into the open mail bags. Close up of Gill. Close up of the pigeon holes, each labelled with a foreign place name (such as Accra, Malacca, Nairobi), and a woman's hand placing letters inside them. Close up of a female soldier tying up and labelling a blue mail bag.

Close up of water, and then a steamer going up the Rhine, with a town on the riverbank, with hills and a hill-top church or castle beyond; on the deck of the steamer are deck-chairs and civilians standing and sitting. Close ups of two young care-free couples (one of the women is holding a camera). Close up of the hillside with its church or castle tower. The front end of the steamer, with the town, hill and tower beyond. Close up of one of the young couples (dressed in civilian clothes), leaning against the railings on the deck of the steamer as it passes a riverside castle. The woman is, we are told, a Red Cap, or member of the Military Police.

Shot of the same woman, dressed in army uniform, with a red peaked cap and red 'MP' armband, entering a room marked 'RMP Duty Room'; she goes to a high counter, at which a man (in a different coloured uniform but a similar red cap and armband) is sitting writing; there are various pictures and noticeboards on the walls; one poster reads 'Don't ask a man to drink and drive'; the man and women talk briefly and the woman leaves shot; the man stands up and is joined, on his side of the counter, by the woman; they discuss the paperwork on the counter. The woman explains in the voice-over: 'There are several jobs which the military policeman could deal with but are done much better by a woman, and we do do them better, especially with very small children; a woman can deal with them more easily'. She goes on to talk of how she deals with lost children, as the camera shows a road (abroad, possibly in Germany), with an army jeep with two 'red caps' (one male and one female) and a third man in uniform, driving through traffic and turning off to park outside a large building. Close up of a man and woman (in civilian clothes) with a smartly-dressed girl (about five years old) leaving the building; the girl is apparently lost and the two adults hand her to the female red cap who, smiling, takes her in her arms and comforts her; the third man in uniform (possibly a German soldier or policeman) talks to the two adults. The female red cap carries the girl to the jeep, followed by the male red cap. She then passes the little girl to the male soldier (who carries her very awkwardly) so that the female red cap can climb into the passenger seat of the jeep; he then hands the girl to her. Close up of the female red cap comforting the child. Marjorie Proops comments 'There's no doubt about it. Lost children bring out the protective instinct in a girl, whether she's in the army or a civilian'.

Landscape in a hot, rather arid, country, with a building (possibly a small fort) in the foreground. A woman walks down a large, enclosed balcony or cloister. The same woman, wearing a light-coloured cotton army uniform, walks across an office; men and women are seated at desks; the women are wearing the same uniform; one has a large adding machine on her desk; Close ups of two of the female soldiers discussing paperwork. Another shot of the office, with the female soldier using the adding machine. They are army clerks working abroad.

Close up of a sign board 'Tape Relay Centre. 235 Signal Squadron (comcan)'. Inside the tape relay centre; according to Marjorie Proops, it is all rather hush hush, because they handle messages linking overseas units with British headquarters; men and women in light-coloured army uniforms (the men in shorts) operate tape machines; one male soldier hangs the tape around his neck. Close up of a female soldier operating a teleprinter; a male soldier, holding a large roll of tape, comes over to her and chats; Marjorie Proops comments that this centre is a vital part of the world-wide communications system and this girl is communicating her willingness to go for a swim after work.

View of beautiful sea, with unusual rock formation; a group of young people (off-duty soldiers) sits on the rocks; one man dives into the sea; a woman is snorkelling in a crystal clear sheltered pool; she is joined by the diver and they splash about. Close up of the group on the rocks, picnicing. Marjorie Proops comments 'Swimming, sunbathing, acquiring a marvelous tan, let alone dream boyfriends, what more could a girl want?'. The two swimmers join the group on the rocks and everyone laughs as the male swimmer takes ice from the ice-bucket and rubs it onto the female swimmer's back. Close up of the relaxed, young off-duty soldiers enjoying themselves. Close up of the water.

Close up of a letter (an acceptance into the army) being pushed through a letter box and falling onto the floor. Close up of a young woman (smartly dressed in civilian clothes) opening a front door and walking through, holding a letter. Her parents (also smartly dressed and both wearing hats) join her on the doorstep of their house (which has ornate garden railings); the girl is leaving home to join up; they set off walking along the street, with her father carrying the suitcase. A station platform; the family group (now including more relatives) is standing waiting for the train, which pulls in; the family embrace the girl and see her off on the train; as they wave goodby she waves back from the train window. She has been joined by another young recruit and they settle themselves down into their seats. Close up of the first recruit smiling and chatting. View from the train window (wall, trees, gardens and houses). Close up of the girl. View of fields out of the train window. Close up of the girl, smiling. Titles.





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