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Duration 8:53

London Can Take It

This film, in which the American journalist, Quentin Reynolds pays tribute to London and its people under fire, conveys the spirit and atmosphere of the 1940 blitz on the capital. It shows a series of scenes before and after a bombing raid, with busy civilians going about their daily work and then taking shelter or preparing to defend the city.

Context

In October 1940 London and most of Britain’s other cities were being bombed in the Blitz. This film was designed to show that bombing would not affect morale. It was also designed to generate support for Britain in the USA, with the hope that the USA might enter the war.

Interesting or important points about the film

The commentary is deliberately downbeat. Its impact at the time, especially in U.S.A., makes it historically one of the most important of the war films. The use of an American reporter who stressed his own “neutrality” probably would have made the film more acceptable to American audiences. When it was first made it had to be edited because the Ministry of Information felt it showed too much damage. There was also a shorter version made of the film called Britain Can Take It. Observation reports suggest that the film was one of the most successful ever made, and was widely praised by audiences across the country.

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