This film is part of Free

The Defence of the Realm Act

Ending child exploitation, saving theatres, and finding a stiff drink - how to survive the Great Depression.

Anthology 1937 22 mins


While the first newsreels had avoided political controversy, March of Time often took on a campaigning stance. So it was that the leading item in this edition found Louis de Rochemont and co, who produced the films, lending support to a political initiative to enshrine workers' rights for children. Here in Britain, meanwhile, there was clearly a rather different discussion about rights going on: the right to buy booze in the evening.

Context is everything in these reports, each of which cast a spotlight on day-to-day life during economic hardship. Although headquartered in the US, the March of Time cinemagazine had an arm in Britain, and liked to stress that it understood the national psyche here. The third item reveals, with wry humour, the crafty ways in which citizens managed to circumvent old alcohol buying restrictions. The second film, meanwhile, remembers American showbusiness before the Depression - a time when minstrel shows and performances from the "Negro unit" might have been deemed acceptable.