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What A Life!

In preparation for the much bigger article I'm going to write about British Public Information Films soon (honest), here's a fabulous example of the genre from the National Archives site, dated 1947. Titled "What A Life!", it stars Richard Massingham, who was to appear in many PIFs, but this is unusual in showing a weary attitude to post-war life, and has such black humour that it was complained about in Parliament! It's really refreshing compared to the rather more strait-laced presentation of the era that abounds, and gives me the impression that 'modern' humour really isn't that modern at all.

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Cheers for digging that up. What a great wee film! It would have been very odd to have seen a PIF with that sort of black humour and general lack of firm message (what was it saying at the end? That you can always go for a pint?) in the 1980s, let alone the 1940s.

By Zagrebo
October 08, 2007 @ 11:12 pm

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It's an amazing piece of work. As I said, we're so used to a certain idea of that era, I think we forget that not everyone was like Mr Chomondley-Warner! It makes me want to hunt out more Richard Massingham stuff. If only I had the money.

Also, the other films from that era are well worth a look, especially the ones about the NHS and the government's plans for Britain at the time. Sadly, they never achieved their potential.

By Tanya Jones
October 09, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

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