Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
United Kingdom, 1939. London Film Productions. Directed by Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, Michael Powell. Story by Ian Dalrymple, Screenplay by Adrian Brunel, E.V.H. Emmett. Cinematography by Osmond Borradaile, Bernard Browne, Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Alexander Korda. Music by Richard Addinsell. Production Design by Vincent Korda. Film Editing by Henry Cornelius, Charles Frend, Hugh Stewart, Derek N. Twist.
This dry semi-documentary was produced by Alexander Korda as a British propaganda effort for World War II, and as such holds no value save as a historical curiosity. Using much of the same cast and crew of The Thief Of Bagdad, which was shooting at the time, the film employs a self-confident narrator who tells the audience the many ways in which liberated, democratic British society is superior to the fascism that was on the rise in Germany and Italy, using lots of footage to exemplify both sides of the argument. Every once in a while it cuts to dramatic efforts, displaying soldier Ralph Richardson and his noble willingness to leave brave wife Merle Oberon on the home front while he goes off to fight the bad guys. It is absolutely impossible to view it as entertainment, but it’s certainly worth seeing for anyone curious to know more about popular culture reactions to the war.