Film: 9359

Industry + Work | 1980 | Sound | Colour


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Extracts from the original footage together with modern (1980) footage.
Opening sequence: Chemical plant in U.S.A. Cut to rousing and patriotic song urging women to pay attention to their war duties and responsibilities. Cut to women relaxing on speedboat. Song title and chorus "If you love your country don't be an absentee". Interviews with two women discussing the difficulties of working and living during wartime years and having to balance family and work responsibilities. Cut to 1940's creche or childcare facilities supposedly supplied by the government to prevent any break up of family members. Women workers discuss the problems of fulfilling their role as cook and mother and attempts to participate in union activities after work. Cut to b/w footage of female war workers waking up, but deciding to remain in bed rather than go to work. Cut to women shopping for fur coats. A clear propaganda effort to ensure women worked for the war effort rather than pursued other more leisurely pursuits. A young boy who has scraped his knee is looked after by his mother. Men and women leaving through factory gates at the end of a shift. Panning shots of factory with plane components prominent. Cut to women receiving telegrams notifying them of the death of their loved ones. Cut to graveyard full of identical white crosses. Superimposed over this image is a star. A volley of shots is fired off by a guard of honor with an emotive twilight sky in the background. One of the women talks about the pressures they felt to contribute to the War effort, because the men were after all dying for them. Tanks and other War relics making bombs in a very quick montage, over patriotic music. Soldiers parachute out of plane. Soldiers arrive at beach head. Factory shots of munitions ( bombs ) being constructed and airplane rotor blades on assembly line. One of the women conveys a story about a racist officer bullying a Filipino officer over shots of shipyard construction. Still of a young black woman with goggles on her head, clearly a wartime worker. Cut to women and men moving sheets of steel around factory juxtaposed with the launch of the warship John P Poe. Cut to people waving from the rear of the ship with 'ships for victory' slogan prominent. Women discuss their feelings of joy at seeing the launch of the ships they worked on. Cut to 1940s footage of a woman talking about her love for her wartime job and her plan to give up work and go back to fulfilling a role as a housewife when her husband returns. Lee Dunning welder discusses her pre war work as a baby nurse with an interviewer through the port hole of an unfinished ship. Both women endorse the view that it is their duty to give up work to enable the returning soldiers to have their jobs back. Explicit reference to the woman's promise to return to the home by Bill Tacks, owner of the shipyard. Cut to women munition worker assembling equipment at a vice. Cut to headline of San Francisco Examiner 'PEACE'. Cut to celebration sirens after the victory over Japan. Sailors dance and kiss willing females. A sailor and young woman dance the jive or similar style dance while a crowd look on. Cut to one of the main interviewees telling her story regarding the extortionate prices they were asked to pay in wartime. Soldiers arrive by ship, alight and embrace partners on shore. Cut to war department film entitled 'Coming Home' giving the view of the G.I. returning home, his hopes (a comfortable sleep in a bed) and being tended to by a bevy of beauties. Cut to ship bringing back returning soldiers. Cut to arrival in New York with statue of Liberty prominent. Women interviewees discuss the events (the loss of their jobs) after the soldiers return. The women talk about the skills they have acquired including riveting welding and assembly line skills. Initially the women had high hopes that they would be able to secure employment. Cut to March of the Times newsreel 'Post-war jobs' detailing the work of business and government organisations to implement a strategic back to work plan. Cut to discharge of veterans (sign prominent). A veteran is given a job as a tool checker in an interview with a government official. Cut to underdeveloped regions of Asia with export of raw material. Cut to woman who says "The first thing I am going to do after is get a vacuum cleaner". Cut to interview of house with household gadgets such as the television shown. Brief shot of early helicopter. Cut to men working a lathe. Cut to interviews with women talking about the difficulties of getting work and the obstacles that were placed in their path to securing work. Cut to women standing outside Employment Service Offices. Voiceover explains some of the other hidden difficulties that women had to endure: such as the mental problems the men had acquired. The women were no longer comrades in arms but competitors. Cut to nuclear family with voice over stating ' the family is soundly grounded on the fathers as patriarch and breadwinner and on the mothers as cook housekeeper and nurse of the children' the increasing economic independence of women has been cited as most disruptive remainder of this newsreel extract talks about the dangers of working women and the impact this will have on the family life. Cut to young children on the streets taking reefers or joints or cigarettes out of a matchbox. Cut to a woman who appears to be organizing the documentation to annul her marriage. Dr. M Fernham state her views against working women in her book 'Modern Women, The Lost Sex'. Dr. Farnham states her view that the working woman has become the rival of the husband. Women talk about the compromises they had to make, the jobs they had to do because other more satisfying posts were unavailable. Cut to women with young children and babies. Cut to shots of babies in cribs. Front of San Francisco Chronicle Magazine section February 18th 1945. One of the interviewers discusses the change in emphasis of propaganda from the war to post-war years, with magazines and films now playing up and emphasizing the role of women at home. Cut to stills of women at work with easy-going jazz soundtrack.

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