Film: 5313

Places + Locations | 1970 | Sound | B/W

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Synopsis:

Explosion and stills of World War One (Western Front). Stalin, Hitler and Roosevelt, computers, CND protesters, US space rocket as the years count up to 1967.
A collection of young British or English men discuss relationship of Britain, United States of America and Europe. Cut to presenter who indicates how Britain has been trying to get into the Common Market but has hitherto been thwarted by President De Gaulle of France, who questions Britain's loyalty to Europe as it has ties with the U.S.A. and Commonwealth. This is narrated over stills of De Gaulle - at a press conference with raised forefinger and facial close up.
The presenter sets out the aim of the programme: to try and answer the question of how Britain's background prevents it from being a good European. The camera moves down a typical West European city scene; a busy main road, people waiting at a bus stop, trams, old buildings mingle with new constructions. Two elderly ladies drink either tea or coffee at an outdoor cafe. At another table, a man in sunglasses reads a newspaper.
Various street scenes unfold. People strolling down a sunny tree-lined street. Traffic in what is probably an Italian city and people going about their daily business along a main city street.
Stills of various European magazines - Paris-Match, Quick, Elle and Burda and advertisements for Esso, Kodak, Signal Toothpaste, Johnson's Insecticide, Flora Margarine - follow.
Further European city traffic scenes are presented, followed by a look at European supermarkets. An external shot of a French and then a German supermarket is shown. Moving inside the supermarket, a French gentleman picks up some apples and places them in his shopping trolley. A jar of something under the wine and spirits stand catches the Frenchman's eye and he places this too in his trolley. He moves on to the supermarket checkout, where the cash-till operator empties out the contents of the trolley and places them on a conveyor belt. A map of Europe illustrates the main trade links within the Common Market, between France Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy. In contrast a map of the world shows Britain's trade links as being much more widespread across the globe, with the Commonwealth countries a legacy of the British Empire. Another map indicates the trade links of the previous Empire.
An early 20th century British shipyard scene shows men in cloth caps, hard at work in ship construction. A tugboat pulls a ship into port. Danish goods are unloaded, men carry planks of wood.
British navy warships patrol the high seas an a map shows a chain of British naval bases that enabled it to safeguard its trade routes - Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The presenter describes how, by the 1920's, British seapower was no longer the sole dominant force. More scenes of warships at sea, this time presumably, U.S. navy follow. The Japanese were a rising force in the Pacific. This is depicted by a ticker tape greeting for the parading Japanese armed forces and footage of their expanding naval forces, which include some of the biggest ships in the world at this time.
A close up of the Royal Navy Ensign, blowing in the sea wind and more footage of British battleships with their big guns blazing underlines the point that Britain retained a formidable power.
Other aspects of British armed forces are shown - a Spitfire performing air manoeuvres, a line of bombers running their engines and flying in formation.
Various World War Two footage follows - artillery barrages, a tank moves through a field of sunflowers, muddy terrain and splashes through a small river. Overhead, a German Stuka dives into attack, British soldiers take cover from exploding bombs. A bomber drops its load, British troops scatter as they suffer bombardment. A navy vessel helps evacuate British soldiers from Dunkirk.
Royal Air Force Spitfires take off to counter the Luftwaffe threat, engaging them in battle. A plane crashes into the sea.
A ship is launched and tanks roll off the assembly line as Britain steps up war production.
The Victory Parade in London 1945 shows general Montgomery giving salute to the onlooking King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and a seated Queen Mary. This is followed by units of the British Armed Forces giving and receiving the salute from the Royal party.

The aftermath of war sees bombed-out houses in Britain.
Britain's empire in the Indian subcontinent from 1947 disappears as a map shows the newly emerging countries of India, West and east Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon.
Despite the apparent decline of British power, it still plays a role in world events - the RAF flies in supplies to Berlin during the blockade of 1948; British troops wade through a swamp-like terrain in Malaya during operations to suppress a Communist rebellion; in 1950 a brigade of British Commonwealth troops take part in the Korean conflict, entering a village, moving through the jungle and sharing a cigarette break with U.S. troops.
In 1952, Britain explodes its first atom bomb at sea, the Royal Navy observing the developing mushroom cloud. A map of the Middle east shows British strategic interests: the oil producing countries and the Suez canal in Egypt. A silhouetted Egyptian stands at what seems to be the entrance of the Suez canal with an oncoming ship in the background.
Three different shots of ships sailing down the Suez. In the third shot as well as a tanker or supply ship there appears a more traditional Egyptian sailing vessel in the foreground.
Close up of President Nasser of Egypt addressing an unseen audience.
Aerial shot of Suez canal.
Two aircraft fly in the sky. Inside the aircraft, close up of two soldiers, either British or French, smoking a cigarette.
Caption of November 1956, signifying the beginning of the Anglo-French attempt to seize Suez, on an aerial shot of opening parachutes - it is unclear whether men and or supplies are being parachuted.
A thick black plume of smoke rises in the background as the British and French troops make their amphibious landing. Close up of silhouetted soldiers climbing out of landing craft and stepping into shallow water. A tank possibly British or French drives by in a Port said road. A different shot shows what seems to be an armoured personnel carrier heavily sandbagged at the front, moving swiftly elsewhere in Port Said. Three figures look down from the balcony of a three storey house which seems to have become caught up in the conflict. One of the balcony figures holds what looks like a large, full net hanging over the balcony. Other details of action include a British or French soldier with back to the camera standing behind a large gate or railings watching two fellow comrades run for cover in the street; and a two storey building burns.
Down a palm-tree lined street a tank drives by with two visible crew members, one of whom is standing. Aerial shot of Port said harbour reveals three ships, one of which is half-submerged.
Train pulls into a station, containing United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, some of whom look out of the train window. They alight and assemble on the platform wearing full combat gear.
British Commander or Colonel casually inspects a group of soldiers, some bare chested and one of whom takes a photograph of the occasion, patting one on the shoulder and engaging in light hearted conversation. The scene seems to be taking place inside the railway station.
Ship pulls out of harbour.
Back to the presenter who sums up how Britain's position in world is heavily dependent on the Americans.
Map of North and central America with the U.S.A. and Cuba highlighted. Close up of Fidel Castro in Army fatigues speaking at a meeting.
Russian ship containing missiles for Cuba sailing in Atlantic. Close up shot of the covered missiles and equipment for setting up launching sites.
U.S. fleet sails into position for possible confrontation. From the air, the Russian ship is observed by the U.S. Air Force. Shot of two crew members in cockpit. Russian ships turn back as the Soviet Union backs down from confrontation.
Presenter explains how, despite Britain's relegation in world power status, it still tries to maintain this role which leads it to look away from Europe.
Map of the world showing British links with Commonwealth countries - Canada, parts of Central and South America, parts of Africa, India and Australasia. Four "Canadian" combine harvesters gather in wheat. A close up of a combine reveals the operator who seems to be dressed in military uniform. A dog herds a flock of "Australian" sheep; cows graze in a "New Zealand" field.
European map showing British links with Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Italy.
Footage of conferences held to discuss European unity: European government officials walk into conference building, probably in Rome, while onlookers across the road stand under their umbrellas. Government officials seated at table for press conference, behind whom sit other officials; Konrad Adenauer puts his signature to an agreement.
European map highlights the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) Seven: Britain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark Norway and Sweden.
Focus on a sprouting (?) fountain, behind which a tall modern building stands - perhaps the Common Market Building in Brussels.
Aerial shot of European dock, ship's goods being loaded into two large barges alongside it. Close up of T E E (Trans Europe Express) train thundering past in the European countryside. Cars travelling on the autobahn, direction Essen and Dusseldorf, intercut with shots of refineries and industrial plants. Another close up of the T E E crossing a bridge.
Stills of Harold MacMillan with De Gaulle; Harold Wilson with De Gaulle; close up of de Gaulle's head.
Presenter outlines view that most British people would welcome joining the Common Market if it meant better economic prosperity,
Final shot: Trooping the Colour ceremony with a marching band in middle of Whitehall.


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