1940 - 1970 Public information films

Mr Careless goes to Town- IFI Player
This 1949 Public Information film made by the National Film Institute highlights the importance of road safety but also shows the beauty of the Wicklow hills and Dublin city at the time.
Public Information Film - Tell the Police about local crime
Stop That Thief (1961) | BFI National Archive
"If you ask for trouble, you'll probably get it!" That's the ominous warning in this public information short advising on the dangers of burglars and how to combat a "sneak thief" - mainly by locking your doors and windows. All the vulnerabilities of the modern home to thieves are pointed out, beginning with a clever zoom out from the household TV set, since this ad would have been shown on television. This video is part of the Orphan Works collection. When the rights-holder for a film cannot be found, that film is classified as an Orphan Work.
0:17 / 1:20 Up next AUTOPLAY 21:28 Nobody Told Me (1983) UK Public Information Film - Home Safety
Yes they even make a cat sound for the cat burglar, but the doctor always lends a hand with the phone from his TARDIS
1950s British Public Information Films : The British Policeman - 1959 - CharlieDeanArchives
This portrait of a British Policeman was commissioned by the Colonial Office to promote Britain's Police Service to the colonies and Commonwealth states.

Public Information Films


Many public information films concentrated on crime and safety and of course the police forces of England and Wales.


What are they?


Public Information Films were produced by many different British government departments for over 70 years, mainly through the agency of the Central Office of Information, successor to the wartime Ministry of Information. They have included work by many of the greatest names in British cinema history, including the much-celebrated Richard Massingham, Alberto Cavalcanti, John Grierson, Len Lye and more. But there are many unknown treasures which reveal our recent history in a refreshing and unexpected way. Films which aim to influence the public to cycle carefully, to kill flies, to avoid hazards in the home, to improve typing technique or learn how to talk effectively on the telephone (whether within the civil service or shopping a paramilitary in Troubles-era Northern Ireland), all offer a rare insight into how Britons really lived in the last century.

These films were part of a government policy of using films to communicate with a mass audience and represent a real attempt to change behaviours in the interests of public health and safety. During the Second World War they were an essential part of boosting civilian morale and martialling scarce resources, whether they were cabbages, tin cans or bath water; everyone had their part to play in the war effort. In the immediate postwar period, with the nation still reeling from the aftermath of wartime destruction, these films capture the “can do” mood of the period of reconstruction. Social attitudes, culture and heritage are brilliantly conveyed, and often unintentionally revealing of long-forgotten ways of thinking, living and working.     BFI




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