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This programme is an introduction to the series of sixteen archive film compilation programmes which form the television component to the War and Society course. The programme contains sixteen shor...t film clips which Arthur Marwick, Professor of History, uses to demonstrate the value and limitationsof archive film as an historical source. Film must be seen in context with other available sources but it can be a particularly revealing source. A 1939 documentary demonstrates how film can provide unique evidence of ideas which the governments want to propagate. A film of General Montgomery talking to factory workers is used to show how one must distinguish between the intended message which the film-maker is putting over, "the witting testimony" and "unwitting testimony" or unintentional information which we get from a critical look at the film. Examples of film as portraiture of koy historical figures, as evidence of life styles, to show different types of warfare and technical processes are some of the more obvious values of archive film to the historian. Film can be powerful evidence of the human suffering brought about by war and in the programme there are brief clips of the bombing of Monte Cassino, fire raids in Hamburg in 1943 and British army record film shot at Belsen immediately after its capture. At the end of the programme the student is asked to deduce information himself from two clips from newsreels whose "witting testimony" is the promise of social change.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A301, War and society
Item code: A301; 01
First transmission date: 31-03-1973
Published: 1973
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:15
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Producer: Nick Levinson
Contributor: Arthur Marwick
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Attlee, Clement; Baldwin, Stanley; Beveridge, William; Documentary film; Lloyd George, David; MacDonald, Ramsay; Montgomery, General; Newsfilm; World War I; World War II
Footage description: Sequence from 'The warning ' NFA documentary film on air raid precaution. Shots during sequence of bombs falling, Fairey Battle aircraft and of Market Square Nottingham. Sir John Anderson is filmed speaking on the need for volunteers. Arthur Marwick introduces the programme and speaks of the series of programmes in the unit. He distinguishes between various types of film material and assesses its value for the historian, Sequence from film 'Cameramen at war' Sequence contains shots of World War I and II tanks and infantry in battle. Shots of General Montgomery. Sequence from film 'London fire raids' (29th & 30th December 1940). Shots of fires and firemen at work. Shots of Independent Labour Party summer school at Letchworth in the 30s. Arthur Marwick returns to his discussion of archive film and the treatment of it as historical source material in this series of programmes. Sequence from 'Monty on the factory front'; General Montgomery addresses factory workers. Arthur Marwick: then assesses the film and points out the way in which it can be seen and understood beyond the conscious message. Sequence from film 'The Welsh strike'; C.B.Stanton addresses striking miners in 1910. Shots of miners and pit head workings. Sequence from 'Three party leaders' Ramsay Macdonald, Stanley Baldwin, Lloyd George addressing an audience at the Albert Hall on the need for world peace. Sequence from film 'Lancaster bombers' Shots of assembling factories and aircraft section. Sequences from film of the trenches in the first World War and of air attack by B25s in the second World War; Arthur Marwick adds comments. Sequences from "Russia will avenge" and "Cassino bombing"; newsreel items on World War II. Shots of fire raids on Hamburg and of Belsen concentration camp. Arthur Marwick outlines the form the programmes of the unit will take and he repeats some of his earlier observations concerning film as a historical source material. Final selection of film clips. 1. Sequence from 'Blueprint for freedom: the Beveridge Report' Shots of Sir William Beveridge. 2. Sequence from 'Election victories', Shots of Clement Attlee.
Master spool number: 6HT/70867
Production number: 00521_3301
Videofinder number: 609
Available to public: no