Talking Pictures TV Page 8

One from the Crown Film Unit

Fires Were Started (1943) OR as it was titled on TPTV for some reason "I Was a Fireman"

In complete contrast to the previous, this is a surprisingly lengthy docudrama from the pen of Humphrey Jennings, who also directed it for the Crown Film Unit.

Showing one night in The Blitz with real fireman playing the parts - bit stilted as one would expect but nevertheless quite gripping and alarming (!!) at how unprotected those firemen were facing such raging infernos when a warehouse goes up in flames - basic waterproofs, helmets and no breathing apparatus.....................very brave men.

One from the IWM

The Big Blockade (1942)

This sums it up from the IMDb "Wartime propaganda piece reporting on the success of the economic blockade of Germany in the early years of the war." a concentrated bombing of industrial plants.

Very interesting with some great night film of bombers taking off, if you're into that sort of thing, as it goes into docudrama mode with quite a number of well known actors, some you wouldn't have expected to be playing Germans and yet the likes of Leslie Banks in this being a good egg Englishman.

Others of note were Will Hay, Bernard Miles, John Mills, Michael Rennie, Michael Redgrave, Marius Goring (German - natch), Robert Morley as the German Von Geiselbrecht(!), George Woodbridge, Ronald Adam, Michael Wilding, Kathleen Harrison and Thora Hird as a German barmaid (!) uncredited.

And a 1¼ hours quite long for this type of film. Worth a look.

Will Hay ? I've never seen him in a non comedy.

Yes, and from the IMDb blurb:-

Did You Know?

This movie featured Will Hay's only non-comedic role.

Wiki says he died at 60.He didn't look much younger than that when he was in his prime.

Captured (1959) (2003)

Interesting but slow propaganda film from the IWM about how army troops should behave (name, rank, serial number) if captured by the Chinese in North Korea and shows the tactics they use to get information (nothing too gruesome).

It was made for Restricted Viewing in 1959, and not released for public viewing until 2003 - hence the two dates above.

Only two people of note in it are Wilfrid Brambell as an Irishman and Ray Brooks who had a very minor part and didn't say one word as far as I can remember. No mention on the IMDb of who played the numerous Chinese soldiers/captors.

9.40 am today (Friday) on tptv, Fathom, with Raquel Welch and, of all people, Richard Briers. What a lovely pair...

The latter's reaction, after his screen test, "I didn't know what the hell was going on" and, on being offered the part, "are you sure they don't mean another Richard?" Described in Briers' biography More than Just a Good Life as a "kind of weird aquatic/aeronautical spy-spoof hybrid" and "while it's not the worst film ever made..."

I Know What I Like (1973)

15 minute "promo" made by the Brewers' Society via Rank, and playing virtually every part, Bernard Cribbins takes a light-hearted look at the beer making process, from the picking of hops and barley to brewing and finally to drinking.

Mildly amusing.

Dark humour that left a bitter taste?

Quote: john tregorran @ 31st October 2020, 3:29 AM

Dark humour that left a bitter taste?

Light humour, or more like white wine for the lady.

What Men Live by (1938)

Short moral tale (40 minutes) set in the early 19th century based on a Leo Tolstoy story about a carpenter, (NOT a shoemaker according to the IMDb), with no one of note in the parts and issued as a Gaumont - British Instructional Production, so it did remind me of some of the videos I used to edit at the high school I worked at.

Saw it a few years ago - coming up on Sat. 14/11 at 1.40pm, and a double delight for football fans who like a good murder film - "The Arsenal Stadium Mystery" from 1939, which is quite good for a pre war film, which has a murder which takes place during a match between Arsenal and The Trojans (actually Brentford). I seem to remember that the victim was one of the footballers who collapses on the field and then I think there is another murder.

Bit different and well worth a look.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Still fabulous. How Richard Burton never got an Oscar for this is a real injustice.

Target for Tonight (1941)

Superb docudrama from the IWM via the Crown Film Unit and one that is reckoned to be one of the best of its type, showing a bombing raid on an oil storage facility with Wellington bombers piloted by the original crews and everyone else in the film are genuine RAF people - there are no actors, everyone from Commander-in-Chief to LAC were in the RAF. In fact, it seems the pilot of the main featured aircraft "F for Freddie" died a year later in another raid flying a Mosquito.

I notice also that the fictitious (for security reasons of course) airfield of Millerton Aerodrome was actually RAF Mildenhall, where as it happens my father was stationed in 1945, where he was demobbed after 27 years in the RAF and where I spent my early childhood, which I still have fond memories of, when it was 50% an American base.

I had to smile at one bit of trivia on the IMDb, that states "The American release was re-dubbed to overcome the problems of unintelligible accents", and yes, those clipped English "tallyho" accents do sound strange even to me - my Dad never spoke like that!

One other thing, the film poster shows what looks like three modified Spitfires, which didn't feature in the film at all! You'd think someone would have noticed this at the time!!

Well worth a look.

Serves You Right (1940)

Short film (½ hour) made it seems for the car industry of how not to run a garage, with its inefficient service centre and poor customer relations. The owner is then shown the error of his ways at a Ford streamlined system at another garage.

Interesting to see all the near mint cars (mostly Ford) of the period.