Kay Mander's government-sponsored film about the planning for Dunfermline’s post-war reconstruction, while originally intended for a specialist audience of architects and planners, is a fascinating record of the idealism of mid-20th-century town planning.
In describing such schemes with a level of technical detail that presupposes a knowledgeable audience, the film strikes a contrast with contemporaneous documentaries such as Terry Bishop’s Five Towns, which addressed similar issues through the eyes of audience-identifying laymen.
Viewed today with the benefit of hindsight, some of the unintended ironies espoused by these humane technocrats (played by professional actors) are plain to see, but the film’s power and persuasion remains undiminished.
A Plan to Work On is also available on the BFI DVD collection Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930-1950.
This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.