Film: 9941

War + Military | 1930 | Sound | B/W


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A wonderful propaganda film during World War Two explaining the necessity for food rationing.
June 1939. Close up of copy of the Daily Telegraph. Traditional 1930's breakfast table with middle class family eating. A young boy in school uniform talks briefly. The father launches into a speech about the necessity of protecting the food supply when Hitler is finally confronted. The notion of rationing is brought up. The father comments that this would mean everybody would get their fair share. Young boy tucks into some bread and butter. The rather pompous father reads from a newspaper making the point that Britain is an island which relies on the sea for importing food, The camera pans and we see all the family have vacated the room. Montage of activities showing the nation at work and at play. Brief rural sequences including chickens being fed, cows grazing, sheep in pens. Cornfields, fish in nets. Trawlers and fishermen working on boats. Diagram showing proportion of food which comes from the Empire and the dominions. Montage of native speakers including Canadian, an Indian, an Australian, West Indian and South African, New Zealander and Kenyan, each explaining the products their country sends. Merchant ships with flags of famous lines and trading companies. Docks with good shots of machinery bringing products on land. Different regional accents discuss the prospect of war over a montage of shots showing covered meat carcasses being put on land. Workers with distinctive 1930's caps leave through factory gates, some riding bicycles.
Intertitle: September 3rd 1939. Merchant shipping on high sea. Two men discuss the blackout in the dark. A light is shone on a sign "Don't help the enemy! Careless talk may give away vital secrets". Evacuation of children from cities. Train leaving. Village shopkeepers dealing with the sudden influx of children and the demand on food. Large carcasses are cut up by army cooks. Voiceover explains that "Our soldiers must be and are well fed". Bugle player from Welsh Guards from Wales plays Reveille. Soldiers eat in a canteen.
Intertitle: October 1939. We return to our family to see how they are coping with rationing. The young boy examines the ration book his father hands him. he explains that everybody regardless of class or position uses these. Rather clumsy but direct propaganda view of the definition and need of rationing. This view is endorsed by the mother. Convoy of cargo ships showing in detail the strategies employed by the navy to combat the threat of enemy submarines and aeroplanes. Various shots of merchant ships on the high seas. A sailor makes his way up the rigging to the crow's nest. To communicate, messages are sent out by semaphore or by lines established by shooting wires between ships. Old fashioned loudhailer is used to shout messages. Soundtrack for this part of the film combines scripted dialogue of the offices on deck with the workers in engine room. Workers below as well as music symbolising the harsh winds and weather surrounding the decks. Heavy seas. Traditional semaphore using shutters employed to send messages as the weather deteriorates. Sailors respond to the general alarm called because of the approach of unidentified aircraft. Anti-aircraft guns are made ready. Further shots of cargo being landed on quayside. Meat carcasses are unloaded off boats and onto trains. Steam train leaves docks.

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