Listen to Britain

Synopsis: A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.
20 min

I am a Canadian.

I have been listening to Britain.

I have heard the sound of her life

by day and by night.

Many years ago, a great American,

speaking of Britain,

said that in the storm

of battle and conflict

she had a secret vigour

and a pulse like a cannon.

In the great sound picture

that is here presented,

you, too, will hear that heart beating.

For blended together

in one great symphony

is the music of Britain at war.

The evening hymn of the lark.

The roar of Spitfires.

The dancers in the Great Ballroom

at Blackpool.

The clank of machinery

and shunting trains.

Soldiers of Canada holding in memory,

in proud memory,

their home on the range.

The BBC sending truth on its journey

around the world.

The trumpet call of freedom.

The war song of a great people.

The first sure notes

of the march of victory,

as you and I listen to Britain.

This is the BBC

Home & Forces Programmes.

Here is the news,

and this is Joseph McLeod reading it.

- No!

- Is that you?

- It's such an old one!

- Oh, let me see, come on!

# Band plays "Beer Barrel Polka"

# Roll out the barrel

# We'll have a barrel of fun

# Roll out the barrel

# We've got the blues on the run

# Zing, boom, tararrel

# Ring out a song of good cheer

# Now's the time to roll the barrel

# For the gang's all here I

I... give me a home

where the buffalo roam... night, the RSM with a...

big electric lamp.

I... where seldom is heard

a discouraging word...

And remember Tommy

and the Branden babe?

- Oh, yes, do I? A great night!

- Took him all day to ditch her.

# Home, home on the range

# Where the deer and the antelope play

This is London calling.

London calling at the beginning

of tonight's broadcast

in the African service.

- London is calling you...

- (Different languages)

This is the Pacific service

from London,

sending you all greetings

and wishing the best of luck

to those of you listening

who are serving in our armed forces

on sea, land or in the air,

and in the Merchant Navy.

# The right, press, left, press again

# Right and press...

Look well up!

# Lift your tess when you press,

there, now turn, press again

# And a twist and a press... swing!

Press and stop.

Drop your arms and look to the front.

Calling all workers!

Music while you work

this morning on Rhythmic Records.

I... I shall see old pals again

round the back of the arches

# Down in Sunnyside Lane

# I'm a guy who's never

going to roam again

# Once I'm in the old home town

# By and by,

I'll see my little home again

# Then I'm going to settle down

# Round the back of the arches

# Down in Sunnyside Lane

# Where the black of the arches

never seems to remain

# That's where I used to be

as happy as a multi-millionaire

# Everybody there a jolly good pal

# Round the back of the grey skies

# There's a lining of blue...

- (Whistling)

# And when the storm clouds all roll over

# I'll shall see old pals again

# Round the back of the arches

# Down in Sunnyside Lane

# Rule Britannia

# Britannia rule the waves

# Britons never never never

shall be slaves

# Rule Britannia

# Britannia rule the waves

# Britons never never never

shall be slaves

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Humphrey Jennings

Frank Humphrey Sinkler Jennings (19 August 1907 – 24 September 1950) was an English documentary filmmaker and one of the founders of the Mass Observation organisation. Jennings was described by film critic and director Lindsay Anderson in 1954 as: "the only real poet that British cinema has yet produced." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Listen to Britain" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 28 Sep. 2022. <>.

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