Thursday, 29 May 2014

'30s and '40s film online archive completed


The People's Land (1941) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

'30s and '40s film online archive completed

Some of the news articles that I choose to feature on this blog often concern vintage-orientated projects such as archives, recreations and restorations.  Sometimes these long-term ventures get a flurry of media coverage at the outset and then all goes quiet for a time - the thing gets forgotten about and bubbles along in the background until completion brings press attention again or, less happily, it slips into oblivion.  I always like to revisit the more successful undertakings where possible and this latest post is one such pleasing example.

Nearly four years ago now(!) I wrote about an article detailing the British Council's intention to digitise and upload its entire collection of cultural information films from the 1930s and '40s.  All told as many as 160 ten-minute films were to be archived online for everyone to view.  I'm delighted to see today that this process has finally been completed, with 120 clips - mainly from the 1940s - now available to enjoy on the Council's Vimeo site.   


Country Town (1943) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

Film of Britain preparing for war in 1940 revealed by the British Council

A good few bits of footage feature the British war effort, as is to be expected, yet in amongst the wartime clips are some equally fascinating views of daily life in Britain in the 1940s - some in beautiful Technicolour.  I've included a couple more of my favourites here, plus the three in my original post, but really every one is a gem of Forties detail.  The insight these films give us into British life 70 years ago is nothing short of fantastic, with both familiar sights and long-lost scenes from around the country.   Endlessly captivating, it's wonderful to finally see them all preserved for the future.

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