Film: 6740

Social History | 1940 | Sound | B/W


Sex Education in the 1940's
Opening shots of man with daughter in garden mowing lawn. He feels hot and wipes himself with a handkerchief. Mother brings out lemonade and voice-over begins. Father, 50s hair style /quiff and mother tell daughter that she will soon have a brother or sister. Good close up of girl smiling. Father gives daughter pocket money so she can buy knitting needles and wool to start making a little jacket. Shot of daughter (Susan) knitting. Voice-over explains Susan is an adolescent and has started her menstrual period. Diagram of female reproductive system marking the uterus (womb) ovaries and fallopian tubes to explain the link between menstruation and having a baby. Ovaries contain thousands of tiny eggs only a few of which mature. Diagram of egg maturing during cycle and pushing through ovary wall before being drawn into the fallopian tubes. Egg takes eight days to reach uterus. Diagram showing egg travelling along uterus walls, which are filling with extra blood to nourish the egg which has been fertilised. Diagram of unfertilized egg passing out of body through vagina. The thick lining along the walls dissolves and leaves the body. Should egg have been fertilised with male sperm the cycle of menstruation stops completely. Close up of egg and sperm joining during journey of egg along tube to uterus. Close up diagram of jelly like substance along the outer wall of the egg. Shot of sperm pushing itself through wall of egg. Tail of sperm dissolves. The nucleus of the sperm moves across the nucleus of the egg and unites with it. The two become one. This is conception. Fertilized egg attaches itself to the thick lining of the wall when it arrives at uterus, where it gets nourishment (see diagram) and slowly develops into a baby. At three weeks it is a fifth of an inch long not much larger than the head of a big pin. This is the embryo and has not yet taken human shape. At six weeks the embryo (shown in diagram) develops eyes, ears and legs, but it is still small: half an inch long. Four weeks later at two and a half months it has grown to over an inch. Diagram of baby in uterus with umbilical cord which is attached to placenta. Diagram showing placenta and umbilical cord. Although baby is two and a half months old it is still due to have six and a half months of pre-natal growth. Return to shots of mother with Susan in living room. Susan and mother buy groceries to supplement diet. Mother washes floor by hand. Shot of mother with 50's bathing cap swimming. Mother and daughter walk through woods. Mother practises deep breathing exercises wearing bra. Mother in living room putting feet up on footstool. Shot of family meeting friends outside cinema steps, commisioner in uniform stands on steps. Mother visits anti-natal clinic where she is examined by female doctor. Close up of doctor examining stomach. Diagram of baby as it grows older from three and a half to five months. Position of baby in uterus is not fixed and we can see the baby move about in diagram. By six months position of baby has become more fixed. Diagram of baby at nine months old. Mother (visibly pregnant) and daughter on bed sort out clothes for baby. Shot of exterior of house. Father runs to phone to get nurse. Diagram of baby in uterus at full term before the beginning of labour. Diagram of baby surrounded by fluid, the waters. Detailed diagram showing the waters, the cord, the placenta, the cervix, the birth canal and the pelvic arch. Shot of intermittent contractions at beginning of labour. Diagram showing waters breaking and baby starting to make way along birth canal. Baby's head turns upwards into the birth canal. Diagram showing midwife helping to remove baby from birth canal. Shot of girl's playing games outside school building. Susan is told the news. Shot of Susan arriving on her bike with her father waiting outside home. Good shot of old-fashioned bike. Nurse fixing bed. Mother in bed. Nurse answers knock on door and lets father in, mother is sitting up contentendly in bed. Nurse passes baby over to mother. Whole family look on. Close up on family as they dote on baby with jacket make by Susan.

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