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Summer on the Farm (1943)


Main image of Summer on the Farm (1943)
35mm, black and white, 11 mins
DirectorRalph Keene
Production CompanyGreenpark Productions
SponsorsMinistry of Agriculture
 Ministry of Information

Work on farms in Lancashire and Cheshire during the summer months, with emphasis on the interdependence of Manchester and the country districts.

Show full synopsis

Summer on the Farm is one of a quartet of films presenting a portrait of a busy year on the nation's farms (the other films covering winter, spring and autumn - 'the crown of the year'). While watching these pastoral scenes of a glorious British summer, it becomes apparent that the war has been deliberately placed on the periphery of this series. Here, only casual mentions of increased difficulties 'nowadays' and the presence of the Women's Land Army hint at the global conflict taking place.

This summer film makes the strongest case of the series for the mutual dependency of the town and the country for survival. Voluntary land clubs gather in the streets to cycle out to the farms, and the harvested produce makes the return journey to the Manchester fruit and vegetable markets. The urban/rural perspective is reinforced through use of dual commentators on the soundtrack. But while regional accents denote the voice of the country folk, represented here by the farmer, the clipped BBC-style tone belongs to the government, not the people.

The film is a public relations exercise for rural workers, aimed at the millions of industrial workers in towns. Evaluating the purpose and need for this propaganda mission is one of the most interesting aspects of the film for modern viewers. Comfortable in portraying the hard work and essential nature of farming, it clearly avoids direct comparison of farm work with other wartime industries, not to mention those involved in actual fighting.

Jez Stewart

*This film is included in the BFI DVD compilation 'Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930-1950'.

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Making hayricks (1:54)
2. Regional specialities (3:32)
Complete film (11:28)
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Countrywomen, The (1942)
Eastern Valley (1937)
Fenlands (1945)