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World of Plenty (1943)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

A narrator sets out the film's objective: to examine the 'world strategy of food', how it is grown, harvested, marketed and eaten.

Part One: 'Food - As It Was': the state of the populations of Britain and America during the Depression is discussed. Man-in-the-Street focuses on the injustice of the situation, noting that although America is the world's wealthiest country, a third of its citizens are undernourished. An American farmer explains how artificially high market prices produced a glut of farm produce. Newsreel suggests a programme to restrict agricultural production, but is interrupted by a sequence contrasting food destruction and human needs, followed by an explanation of income distribution in America. A comparison with Britain, with similar agricultural policies, features a British farmer. John Orr interrupts to detail newer knowledge of nutrition, British income groups, and the control of rickets and tuberculosis.

'Part Two: Food - As It Is': Newsreel, Second Announcer and Man-in-the-Street present an exposition of increased British food production and problems of shipping food in wartime. In a speech, President Roosevelt introduces 'Lend-Lease', under which the American Government purchased goods required by Britain from American suppliers. Man-in-the-Street and a 'typical British housewife' discuss rationing policy. Man-in-the-Street questions Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, about food in wartime. An 'Englishwoman' explains how expectant mothers and children are given special supplies. A senior medical figure, Lord Horder, announces that Britain's health is in a surprisingly good state.

'Part Three: Food - As It Might Be': an animated diagram lays out the responsibilities of state and citizens. Man-in-the-Street introduces a sequence about world food; an American farming family hears Claude Wickard, US Agriculture Secretary, outline the need for increased production for the Allies. The American and British farmers demand to know whether, in the post-war world, they will be 'left holding the bag' like their fathers after the previous war. A quotation from Wickard answers the American farmer, while Orr, speaking at a conference, reminds the British farmer that feeding the nation, not profit, is the priority. First Announcer declares that "Science has the answer!"

Orr reiterates the theme of linking food production to the health needs of populations. First Announcer reinforces the message. Second Announcer argues for a world food plan. Newsreel objects to such a 'revolutionary' proposal, but Orr defends it. In an extract from a speech Vice-President Henry Wallace concludes that "there can be no privileged people".