This film is part of Free

Great Britain Coronation

Weatherproof bunting, fog, clockwork dolls and a Hollywood exodus to London: this sideways look at preparations for the Coronation of George VI provides a wry American take on a very British ceremony.

Anthology 1937 24 mins


From pasteurised milk and the increasing popularity of winter holidays in the USA to feverish preparations for the 1937 Coronation, this March of Time issue crams a profusion of entertaining re-enactments and interesting facts into its 24 minutes. A dramatic recreation of the fight to stamp out typhoid-infected milk stands next to an episode praising the democratisation of the winter holiday: the average American can now dream of winter breaks in Florida, Havana, Nassau and the Bahamas.

The Coronation episode of this issue casts a respectful but humorous eye on preparations for the ceremony, with a particular interest in behind the scenes activities in workshops and factories, as British working men and women use their skills to create the robes and bunting, flags, cakes, paintings and souvenirs for an event which has been seen as an attempt to restore public confidence after the abdication crisis. Another delight is the range of British stereotypes portrayed in the re-enactments, from the spiv-like estate agent reassuring his client that fog is unlikely to block her view of the procession, to the haughty official laying down the law on the use of the Royal Cipher on coronation souvenirs.