This film is part of Free

Out of True

An innovative drama-doc, one of the first to deal seriously with clinical depression

Instructional film/TV programme 1951 41 mins



Housewife Molly enters psychiatric treatment after attempting suicide. We follow her progress and family relationships in this important government film, one of the first seriously to cover clinical depression. Intended as both NHS training aid and public awareness-raiser, its purpose is to switch on a lightbulb above viewers' heads. Molly is ill, not 'mad', and regains control of her life with sensitive support.

Its mix of true and false notes is what makes the film's efforts to destigmatise so fascinating. In the script, insightful intentions vie with snatches of caricature and sexism; in the production, over-stylised sensationalism risks overwhelming sensitive moments. The Crown Film Unit was famed for morale-raising wartime work, often taking what was termed 'story-documentary' form. Its postwar output is more neglected but takes interesting steps into a changing world. This film was evidently felt to be a job for professional actors, headed by Rank Charm School graduate Jane Hylton. Director Philip Leacock made another Crown/NHS medical drama, Life in their Hands, before beginning a feature film career that took him to Hollywood.