Films

Our Country



Collection: London Screen Study Collection
ID No.: n/a
Title: Our Country
Date: 1944
Film-maker: Ministry of Information;
Director - John Eldridge; Camera - Jo Jago
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Sound
Duration of complete item: 45 min.
Themes: Community Life


Summary:

This dramatised documentary film shows scenes from around Britain through the eyes of a sailor who returns to Britain for the first time after a two year absence.

Description:

The merchant sailor takes a tour across Britain. In London, we see Piccadilly Circus, St. Paul's Cathedral, Charing Cross station, and bomb damaged streets and buildings.

Moving to the countryside, there are scenes of rural areas as well as RAF air bases with Spitfire planes taking off. In Kent, hop pickers are shown harvesting the hops and in their hoppers' huts after work. Land girls are seen working in the fields followed by scenes of women operating a field gun and ARP patrols on duty. Scenes in the Cotswolds include a livestock market and American GIs at a local pub. In Wales, the film shows scenes of a school, a coal mine, a male voice choir and a country bus.

Scenes of a Yorkshire steel factory and a munitions factory are followed by people relaxing a the cinema and at a cafe. War time images of air raids, shelters and Blitz bomb damage lead into further images of people relaxing and dancing. A train journey then takes us to Scotland where there are images of men working felling trees and later playing jazz music, and dancing. Final scenes show a train over the Forth Bridge, fishing boats and sailors on board ship.

Context:

This film, commissioned by the Ministry of Information offers an uplifting portrayal of Britain and its familiar landscape and people. The scenes of war damaged cities are interspersed with images of everyday life and work continuing in rural and industrial locations. The director Jo Jago's cinematic images combine to illustrate the courage and resilience of the British people. This theme is further enhanced by the poetic commentary written by Dylan Thomas and emotive music by William Alwyn.