This film is part of Free

Blood Is Life

There will be blood: a public information film that engages the mind and tugs the heart.

Documentary 1957 16 mins


On the soundtrack a heartbeat pulses and throbs: it's the sound of life itself that we hear as we enter the epic national story of our blood transfusion service. This film, much of it filmed in Bristol, is part documentary - impressing on the mind the intricacies of the service's work. And part drama - aimed at the heart, encouraging us all to offer our own blood to others. Cramming perhaps too much into seventeen minutes, it's a slightly strange patchwork of narratives, moods and styles, perhaps befitting the theme of blood transfusion as living link, binding innumerable people and stories.

The filming highlight is a household accident staged and cut with a suspenseful stylisation, as if in low-budget homage to Hitchcock and Eisenstein; while the scripting highlight is the touching, lyrical reflections of an elderly donor. Blood is Life was commissioned by the Ministry of Health through the Central Office of Information, and made by Leon Clore's Basic Productions. A requent COI supplier, Clore brought high creative talent (from Lindsay Anderson to John Krish) to the sponsored films scene. Anthony Simmons, writer-director for this item, was a frequent Clore collaborator and a unique figure in British film and TV. Simmons' idiosyncratic career encompassed many types of production, frequently enriched by his feel for location (notably in feature films like The Optimists of Nine Elms and Black Joy), sporadically seen here in exteriors shot from striking angles.