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One Family

A schoolboy, a Christmas pudding and a bizarre portrait of the British Empire.

Drama-documentary 1930

Director: Walter Creighton

Overview

The 'family' in question is the British Empire, from several corners of which, in a dream, a schoolboy gathers ingredients for the King's Christmas pudding. This whimsical storyline strings together several mini-documentaries on life and work in the UK's home nations and countries like South Africa and Canada. The film can also boast of being the first ever to be shot in Buckingham Palace.

This was one of the first two films released by the Empire Marketing Board - the other, John Grierson's Drifters, became a cultural landmark. One Family aimed for prestige, with Rudyard Kipling involved in the project, but was an instant disaster, and has gone virtually unwatched since. It's as weird as it sounds (disjointed surviving prints don't help), but compelling precisely because its version of Britishness was dated even when it was made.