Film: 6201

Politics | 1930 | Mute | B/W


A short British film from the late 1930s using stark words and emotive footage, mostly of military action (some of it from World War One), to mount a campaign against a policy of increased rearmament and, by implication, for a policy of appeasement. Anti-war film.

The title 'People of Britain' appears against the sky and increases in size until it fills the screen. A revolving globe appears against the same background, until 'THE WORLD IS ARMING' fills the picture. The script '2,000 million pounds a year spent on ARMS' appears. 'WARPLANES' appears diagonally across the nose and spinning propeller of a warplane. Nine bi-planes in a cross formation occupy the sky. 'There is no defence against air attack'.

'TORPEDOES' appears over a bomb falling below. An explosion, seen at ground level. 'BOMBS' against eight different shots of explosions, most recognisably from the trench warfare of World War One. 'There is no defence against air attack'.

'WARSHIPS' appears against a warship rising towards us through a choppy sea. 'TANKS' against a tank moving across and then away from us; then against another shot of a tank with its end up in the air before it crashes down towards us. 'There is no defence against air attack'.

'MORE TROOPS' appears over a row of troops marching towards the right of the picture. 'GUNS' appears in the bottom right-hand corner, while the image of a large gun pointing towards the right of the picture over a field occupies the screen; the image changes to a closer shot of a gun firing across the sea. A quotation appears: 'Gas burns / Gas blinds / Gas chokes / Gas paralyses'. 'GAS' appears in the top left-hand corner, while beneath a middle-aged woman puts a gas mask on another person to the left and then puts one on herself.

The words 'THE WORLD IS ARMING' stand up against two images of artillery guns. 'For 15 years Britain has spent £260 a minute day and night on ARMAMENTS'. 'BUT-' appears in the top left-hand corner above a newspaper being opened to show an article with the headline 'Government's Arms White Paper'; then above a sentence highlighted from an article: 'It is true that a general raising of levels all round is no guarantee of peace'.

'MONEY FOR ARMS' appears over a silhouetted artillery gun. 'BUT-' fills the centre of the screen against a shot of an industrial building and towers, in front of which three men walk beside what are perhaps slagheaps; a '?' appears against the same footage. 'A TENTH of our people are near the point of STARVATION'. A '?' appears over a working-class back street, along which a man kicks a football towards us, a woman walks away from us, and several children play. The words 'MAKE THIS A SYMBOL OF PEACE' appear one line at a time over a fluttering Union Jack that fills the screen.

The words 'PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN' gradually appear on an image of young schoolchildren at work at desks facing us, while a large display of their work about the weather can be seen at the back. A view across a London bridge (possibly Waterloo Bridge, looking towards the Aldwych and Somerset House) on which traffic and pedestrians move, against which the words 'YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE' gradually appear, while the camera moves slightly further above the scene. The words 'DEMAND PEACE BY REASON' increase in size against the Houses of Parliament seen from across the river. 'WRITE TO YOUR M.P.' appears over hands putting a letter into an envelope; and over a number of stamped letters spread over a table.

'DEMAND PEACE' increases dramatically in size against a revolving globe, the background eventually going black. 'THE END' similarly increases in size to fill the screen.
A plea against war with Germany prior to World war two.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 6201.