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1918 on Film

The final year of the war was a tough one for British film, but the industry did its patriotic best.

1918 in British cinema inevitably centred on the war. With shortages of personnel and materiel, production dwindled to a trickle of feature length dramas and the usual mix of newsreels, interest films and comedies. These were increasingly influenced by Government propaganda, which had got into its stride just as the war was coming to a close. There was even an attempt to make an officially sanctioned morale-boosting feature film - known for a time as 'The National Film' but surviving only as a fragment called Victory and Peace. Meanwhile, even some non-official films - like Maurice Elvey's Nelson, the Story of an Immortal Hero - focused on patriotic subjects. 


Comedies, too, reflected the times. One of the best is Trips and Tribunals, in which Lupino Lane plays a succession of reluctant conscripts begging for exemption from war service. Also in a comic vein were a charming series of films made by and starring celebrity couple Henry Edwards and Chrissie White, exhorting citizens to recycle and save food. Other stars, including Alma Taylor, Ivy Close and Violet Hopson, also played parts in recruiting films for the Land Girls, which make fascinating to compare with similar drives during the Second World War.

This collection is generously supported by the Charles Skey Charitable Trust.

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Nelson; The Story of England's Immortal Naval Hero
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Nelson; The Story of England's Immortal Naval Hero

Biopic1918126 mins

Morale-boosting exploits intended to inspire war-weary citizens.

Trips and Tribunals (The Blunders of Mr. Butterbun)
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Trips and Tribunals (The Blunders of Mr. Butterbun)

Comedy191825 mins

Mr Butterbun presides over a tribunal dealing with cases of men presenting excuses to avoid the First World War draft.

Women's Work in Wartime
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Women's Work in Wartime

Industry sponsored film19188 mins

Who wears the trousers while the men are at war? The women of Britain, who pick up a surprisingly wide range of jobs

Battle Front in Britain
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Battle Front in Britain

Documentary191824 mins

Growing potatoes in Green Park plus some handy uses for your old tin cans – it’s all part of the war effort on the home front.

Scenes of the First World War
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Scenes of the First World War

War19185 mins

Dramatic footage of Italian and British troops on the front line and airborne.

Haunted Hotel
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Haunted Hotel

Fantasy191817 mins

Guests find things that go bump in the night.

Australian Troops at the Pyramids
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Australian Troops at the Pyramids

Non-Fiction19181 mins

Shades of epic cinema as soldiers roam around the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza

Adam Bede
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Adam Bede

Period drama191810 mins

The surviving reel of what seems like an action-packed adaptation of George Eliot’s 1859 debut novel.

Victory and Peace
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Victory and Peace

War191816 mins

One reel of a feature about a German invasion of Britain.

Some War-time Types: The W.L.A. Girl
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Some War-time Types: The W.L.A. Girl

Documentary19182 mins

Rural bliss down on the farm for a happy recruit to the Women's Land Army

Notts Women's Great War Rally
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Notts Women's Great War Rally

19181 mins

The capable women doing men's work on Nottinghamshire's farms attract a crowd - and perhaps some new recruits

Women Farm Workers
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Women Farm Workers

19181 mins

These Land Girls are firm friends - and just as good at farm work as the men they replaced during WWI

Swan Upping on the Thames
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Swan Upping on the Thames

Non-Fiction19181 mins Location: River Thames

The tricky task of tracking London's swans.

Waiting and Watchful
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Waiting and Watchful

Non-Fiction19182 mins

Scenes from the Western Front

Airship Leaves Hangar and Starts a Flight
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Airship Leaves Hangar and Starts a Flight

19183 mins

A military airship of the S.S.T. series is pulled out of a hangar and prepared for take-off.

Rilka: Or The Gypsy Queen
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Rilka: Or The Gypsy Queen

Romance191859 mins

A soldier scarred by torture at the hands of African natives is rescued by a gypsy

World's Largest Photograph
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World's Largest Photograph

Non-Fiction19181 mins

Shot, blown up and stitched back together, wartime’s biggest and most colourful piece of propaganda is squeezed into Mayfair in this 1918 newsreel.

Home Coming of the Bedfords
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Home Coming of the Bedfords

19184 mins

A heroes’ welcome for the Bedford regiment in their own hometown.

Surrender of the German Fleet
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Surrender of the German Fleet

Non-Fiction191815 mins Location: Rosyth

The surrender of the German fleet at the end of WW1 and the visit of King George V and the Prince of Wales to USS New York at Rosyth.

Knocknagow
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Knocknagow

Period drama191890 mins

One of the first Irish feature films, a heartwarming tale of Tipperary folk set during the land clearances of the 1840s

Smallcombe Film Compilation
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Smallcombe Film Compilation

Amateur film191821 mins

An unidentified – and intriguing – anthology of early amateur film.

Allotment Holder's Enemies
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Allotment Holder's Enemies

Advert19185 mins

An instructional film offering tips on how to get rid of greenfly, caterpillars, snails, slugs, moths and sparrows.

Buckingham Palace Allotment
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Buckingham Palace Allotment

Non-Fiction19181 mins

Who knew George V was growing vegetables in his back yard?

Helping the Food Controller in 1000 Home Gardens at Bournville
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Helping the Food Controller in 1000 Home Gardens at Bournville

19186 mins

Self-sufficiency in a Midlands garden suburb supports national resilience during WWI

General Allenby's Entry into Jerusalem
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General Allenby's Entry into Jerusalem

Non-Fiction19185 mins

A legend in the making: the first film glimpse of the man who would become Lawrence of Arabia

E.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and Dem
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E.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and Dem

191814 mins

Brave Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) pilots put early parachute designs to the test. It’s hair-raising stuff!

Parachute Descent from an Airship
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Parachute Descent from an Airship

19181 mins

Parachute experiments shot from a bird’s-eye-view.

British Naval Activities after the Great British Victory of Jutland
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British Naval Activities after the Great British Victory of Jutland

191816 mins

Even HMS Victory makes a cameo in a propaganda piece made after the British Navy’s bloodiest day of WWI.

The Secret
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The Secret

Government sponsored film19182 mins

Covert operations on the home front find solutions to shortages just next door

Life at Iwerne Minster in Wartime, August 7th & 8th 1918.
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Life at Iwerne Minster in Wartime, August 7th & 8th 1918.

Documentary191818 mins Location: Iwerne Minster

These vignettes of village life during WWI in Iwerne Minster, Dorset, are testament to the industriousness of its inhabitants.

Royal Visit to Messrs. Horrockses Factory
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Royal Visit to Messrs. Horrockses Factory

19133 mins Location: Preston

Red letter day in Preston

Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet
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Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet

Non-Fiction19181 mins Location: Isle of May

Dramatic aerial footage of the German surrender captured by the RAF.

Against the Grain
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Against the Grain

War19182 mins

Defence of the realm diverts cereal feeds from hungry hens and leaves their owners with a dilemma

Rescue Work in No Man's Land
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Rescue Work in No Man's Land

Non-Fiction19181 mins

The heroic dogs trained to aid wounded WWI soldiers caught between the lines.

The Warrior's May Queen
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The Warrior's May Queen

Non-Fiction19181 mins

May I shake your hand, ma'am? Back in Blighty, a soldier finds the proper way to address a queen

Deliverance of Lille by Haig's Men
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Deliverance of Lille by Haig's Men

Non-Fiction19182 mins

Bashful British soldiers are mobbed by French citizens after Lille is freed from the Germans in WWI.

Battle South of Arras
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Battle South of Arras

Non-Fiction19182 mins

You can virtually hear the explosions and smell the smoke in this rare close-up of a WWI battlefield.

Camberwell - Dedication of the Borough Mace at the Licensed Victuallers Asylum Chapel, Asylum Road, S.E.
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Camberwell - Dedication of the Borough Mace at the Licensed Victuallers Asylum Chapel, Asylum Road, S.E.

Non-Fiction19183 mins Location: Camberwell

Mayors, bishops and clergymen march through Camberwell to the asylum, better known today as Caroline Gardens.

Prince Of Wales As Miner
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Prince Of Wales As Miner

Non-Fiction19181 mins

The future King Edward VIII gets down and dirty on a visit to an Ebbw Vale pit in South Wales

Hoylake and West Kirby's Tribute to Local V.C
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Hoylake and West Kirby's Tribute to Local V.C

191810 mins

The people of Hoylake and West Kirby welcome their returning hero Sergeant Cyril Gourley V.C. of the Royal Field Artillery.

Record Breaking Riveters
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Record Breaking Riveters

Non-Fiction19180 mins

A little healthy competition in the shipyard – who can fasten the most rivets in a nine-hour stretch?

Pirate Boats at Westminster
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Pirate Boats at Westminster

Non-Fiction19181 mins

A surrendered German U-boat travels up the Thames

Drocourt-Queant 'Switch Line' Stormed
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Drocourt-Queant 'Switch Line' Stormed

Non-Fiction19181 mins

Northumberland Fusiliers in action.

Cheese Making at Home
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Cheese Making at Home

Non-Fiction19184 mins

Handy hints for would-be fromagers

Aircraft Film of Lady Sybil Grant
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Aircraft Film of Lady Sybil Grant

191838 mins

Life in the Royal Flying Corps. A series of unedited shots give us an insight into the military and social life of the early years of the RAF.

What's the Use of Grumblin'?
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What's the Use of Grumblin'?

Government sponsored film19183 mins

Mrs Grousin’-Jones can’t stop complaining about the inconvenience of the war

A Chinese Baby Show
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A Chinese Baby Show

Non-Fiction19180 mins

Chinese children toddle to traditional music in this intriguing Gaumont newsreel.

The Leopard's Spots
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The Leopard's Spots

Drama19182 mins

A chilling message for a nation at war: don't trust the enemy, even after the fighting stops

Lady Footballers
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Lady Footballers

Sport19180 mins Location: Southend-on-Sea

Women munitions workers from the Kynoch and Vickers Maxim factories take to the pitch in Southend during WWI.

Topical Budget 378-1
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Topical Budget 378-1

Non-Fiction19185 mins Location: Royal Albert Hall

Topical Budget salutes Britain's top brass in this gleefully patriotic newsreel edition, released just weeks after the First World War was won.

Floods at Rhyl, October 1918
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Floods at Rhyl, October 1918

Non-Fiction19182 mins Location: Rhyl

Having survived the menace of the First World War, Rhyl is assaulted by the watery forces of nature

The Premier at Neath
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The Premier at Neath

Non-Fiction19184 mins Location: Neath/Castell-Nedd

The sun shines down when PM Lloyd George is in town.

Fallen Heroes
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Fallen Heroes

Non-Fiction19181 mins Location: Hillingdon

A war shrine is unveiled in Hillingdon by one of Britain’s leading wartime politicians

Tank Bank's Tour through Scotland
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Tank Bank's Tour through Scotland

Non-Fiction191815 mins Location: Glasgow

The 'Tank Bank' tours through Scotland, selling War Bonds, raising money for the war effort and boosting morale

Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple
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Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple

Non-Fiction19185 mins Location: Barnstaple

Barnstaple's experimental concrete-hulled ship gets a visit from a jolly Italian admiral.

Our Glorious Mystery Ships
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Our Glorious Mystery Ships

Non-Fiction19181 mins

Q Ship ‘Suffolk Coast’, which trapped and sank many U-boats, arrives in the Thames for display in St. Katherine’s Dock.

King George Takes the Salute
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King George Takes the Salute

Non-Fiction19181 mins

American troops march through London and salute King George V in this late-WWI newsreel item

Lewis Gun Drill
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Lewis Gun Drill

19186 mins

Essential training. A demonstration of the loading and unloading of a Lewis Gun.

Lewis Gun Care and Cleaning: Part A, Laying out Kit
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Lewis Gun Care and Cleaning: Part A, Laying out Kit

19184 mins

Drills for Lewis Gun operators, the laying out and inspection of components for a Lewis Gun.

Broken in the Wars
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Broken in the Wars

War19188 mins

Film pioneer Cecil Hepworth raises awareness of a royal fund to support servicemen wounded in WWI

Give 'em Beans
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Give 'em Beans

Documentary19182 mins

Take a tip from Canada and feed your hard-working man beans and pork to give him a high-speed productivity boost

A New Version
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A New Version

War19182 mins

Idleness is for peacetime. During a war, everybody - and every plot of land - must do their part

Great S.O.S. Campaign
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Great S.O.S. Campaign

Non-Fiction19181 mins

Newsreel footage of the great food saver Arthur Yapp speaking in Trafalgar Square during WW1.

War Office Official Topical Budget and Pictorial News 343-1
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War Office Official Topical Budget and Pictorial News 343-1

19187 mins

Proud servicemen accept awards for valour in a morale boosting late-war newsreel

Cure for Potato Blight
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Cure for Potato Blight

Gardening show19182 mins

Battling biology with a Burgundy mixture, protecting potatoes by the application of science

Pemberton Billing and the 'Vigilantes'
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Pemberton Billing and the 'Vigilantes'

191812 mins

This curious silent film offers a glimpse inside the mind, and the country home, of a notorious politician and inventor

Freed from Turkish Bondage
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Freed from Turkish Bondage

Non-Fiction19181 mins

“Mosque and picturesque scenes in Palestine now occupied by the British" – the Mosque of Omar, or Dome of the Rock, has been “freed” by British troops.

Tank 'Julian' in Merthyr
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Tank 'Julian' in Merthyr

Non-Fiction19185 mins Location: Merthyr Tydfil

Julian', a battle-scarred tank, is the toast of Merthyr in June 1918. Spot 3 women without hats in the crowd that greets the monster guest.