Black & white
Since 1946 the COI (Central Office of Information) has brought us public information films on health, safety and welfare issues – from the danger of accepting sweets from strangers to how to survive a nuclear explosion.
These films, screened to huge cinema audiences, aimed to put a war-weary nation back on its feet. Some remain surprisingly topical, such as Worth the Risk? (a sardonic exposé of dangerous drivers, cutting and swerving through the streets of post-war London) or Your Children’s Meals (practical guidance for the parents of fussy eaters). Others reflect the particular preoccupations of those post-war years: The People at No. 19 is a mini noir thriller on the subject of venereal disease, while Richard Massingham’s Pool of Contentment — on how to get the best out of the office typing pool — offers a comic glimpse of the 1940s workplace. Combining fictional and documentary approaches, these films provide an intriguing portrait of everyday life in 1940s’ Britain, recorded in atmospheric detail.
The programme contains:
- Worth the Risk? (UK 1948 | 10 mins )
- Help Yourself (John Waterhouse | UK 1950 | 12 mins)
- Another Case of Poisoning (John Waterhouse | UK 1949 | 14 mins)
- The People at No. 19 (J.B. Holmes | UK 1949 | 18 mins)
- Your Children’s Meals (Alex Strasser | UK 1947 | 13 mins)
- Pool of Contentment (Richard Massingham | UK 1946 | 18 mins)