This film is part of Free

Britain's Noblemen

Follow a notorious forger from Nebraska to New York, see mutinous sailors stage a sit-down strike, and watch British noblemen find new ways to earn a living - not all of them ethical.

Anthology 1938 19 mins


This issue blends intrigue, humour and topicality, as the March of Time cameras follow the US Secret Service on the trail of a cunning counterfeiter, before crossing the Atlantic for an admiring, if tongue-in-cheek, look at how increased death duties were bringing out the resourcefulness of the British nobility. Finally, the efforts of Joseph Kennedy to revive the moribund US Merchant Marine, show the tough-talking Senator up against an equally determined maritime union.

As so often with March of Time’s films about the UK, the tone of the ‘Britain’s Noblemen’ episode is affectionate with a hint of mockery: the sight of the caddish lord offering his services as an escort pokes fun at English snobbery with a refreshing wit. On the other hand, the sight of Baronet Sir Stuart Knill, selling his inheritance on an antiques stall in the old Caledonian Market in Islington, provides a sympathetic image of ‘dignity in adversity’. The ‘US Seamen’ episode caused a stir with its allegations of mutiny aboard the steamship ‘Algic’, leading to members of the National Maritime Union picketing Radio City Music Hall and crew members filing suits against March of Time, which were later dropped.