This film is part of Free

Motherhood; A Living Picture of Life Today

"Is this a pudding? It's more like a cannon ball" - Mary struggles to live up to her husband's high expectations

1917 29 mins Silent


Marriage and the challenges of motherhood prove too much for ex-factory worker Mary. Will she follow the sound advice of the health visitor - played by famous actress Dorothea Baird, who also conceived and wrote the film - and improve her ‘mothercraft’ skills, or will she continue to take solace in alcohol, as prescribed by her wayward neighbour?

At the time this film was made, the infant mortality rate was soaring in Britain, with 10 per cent of babies dying before the age of one. This somewhat sensationalised account of motherhood and its associated hardships was shown in cinemas across the country during National Baby Week, 1-7 July 1917, an initiative that included films, lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions designed to raise awareness about the importance of child welfare. The National Council of Baby Week commissioned the Transatlantic Film Company to produce and distribute the film. They offered it to the cinema houses at a reduced rate and all profits went to the National Council to fund infant welfare.