WWII at the Pictures
Once the cinemas were declared open for business, the film industry kept the reels turning, serving up a mixed diet of news, morale-boosting propaganda and uplifting entertainment.
Newsreels kept spirits up and relayed vital information, documentaries rigorously explored every aspect of life and work on the home front, and an array of animations and short films imparted practical tips and guidance. Feature films, meanwhile, offered equal parts inspiring wartime stories and escapist fantasy to bring relief from everyday trials. After the war, as memories of horror and grief receded, Britons could look back on their bravery and stoicism with pride, and filmmakers and audiences alike feasted on the rich and resonant stories the war offered.
A trailer for Ealing's wartime drama "Ships with Wings", an all-star actioner about the Navy's Fleet Air Arm.
War194336 mins Location: Cwmgiedd
The villagers of Cwmgiedd re-enact a Nazi massacre in Czechoslovakia, in Humphrey Jennings’ unforgettable propaganda film.
Public Information Filler194011 mins
A commercially produced Ministry of Information film, explaining how vital information could be carelessly leaked to prying enemy ears on the home front.
Government sponsored film194410 mins
A commercially made Ministry of Information film, explaining how vital information could be carelessly leaked to prying enemy ears on the home front.
Government sponsored film19409 mins Location: London
Humphrey Jennings and Harry Watt’s famous GPO film is an enduring example of British self-mythology; a hymn to London’s resilience that helped persuade America to join the war.
Government sponsored film194220 mins
Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister's masterly collage of the various people and classes of Britain - at home and at work, at war and at peace - is one of the great films of war-time Britain.
"Is everybody happy? YES!" Children were both seen and heard, loudly singing along to this jolly anthem at Odeon National Cinema Clubs across Britain
Will Hay's 'silly ass' sidekick Claude Hulbert is excellent in this ingenious wartime savings propaganda comedy short.
War194442 mins Location: Denham
Entertaining and evocative Fleet Air Arm drama-doc propaganda piece, written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
The glitz and glamour of 1930s Hollywood is evoked in this short film, wishing cinema audiences a Happy New Year, ushering in what proved to be the very dark year of 1939.
Government sponsored film194013 mins
The young, old and infirm are evacuated from Blitz-hit cities in this moving testament to Britain's wartime organisational prowess.
A pacy trailer for Launder and Gilliat's 2000 Women, about incarcerated women who hide a British airman.
German trailer for a rare British wartime thriller about love, treachery and a missing 50,000 dollars.
Public Information Filler19407 mins
Two daft 'goofers' cause trouble by staying outside while an air battle rages overhead in this punchy WWII public information film.
A thoughtful Christmas message in hope of peace from early in WWII - the absence of loved ones hit hardest at holiday times.
Following one family from 1944 till after the war, this film tells the story of the women who worked to keep the home fires burning - not to mention cleaning the grates, darning socks, feeding a houseful on rations and waving off the uniformed heroes with a brave smile. It's an affecting and affectionate tribute to the vital role women played ensuring that husbands, sons and daughters had something to come home to.