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Tomorrow is Theirs (1940)


Main image of Tomorrow is Theirs (1940)
35mm, black and white, 10 mins
DirectorJames Carr
Production CompaniesStrand Film Company, Ministry of Information
ProducerAlexander Shaw
ScriptReg Groves
PhotographyAlan Osbiston
CommentatorJoseph Macleod

A boys' school in London and a girls' school evacuated to the countryside cope with wartime conditions.

Show full synopsis

Tomorrow is Theirs examines provisions for secondary school education during the war, arguing for the importance of maintaining excellent, thorough schooling in spite of wartime obstacles.

The first part of the film describes urban 'emergency schools', which bring together non-evacuated pupils from across the towns and cities. Pupils at one boys' school are shown engaged in various classes including geography, art and science, where celluloid-covered slates are used in an effort to save paper. The second half of the film focuses on a rural girls' school, where pupils evacuated from the towns and cities join the local children. The country surroundings give a new, exciting dimension to lessons, and practical classes such as domestic science are refocused to serve the local war effort, with pupils making curtains and blackout fittings, and preparing midday meals for classmates.

This film is made in a straightforward manner, with shots of the pupils and their classroom activities at both schools accompanied by a commentary by Joseph Macleod. But the pupils are naturalistic, and the commentary lively, making this an appealing, informative film. While emphasis is given to the way pupils have adapted and integrated - the message being that consistency and some sense of normality in schooling must be maintained - some viewers might also take from the film a sense of the excitement and stimulation that such changed circumstances might bring to a young student's day-to-day life.

Shona Barrett

*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. Emergency schools (2:22)
2. The countryside (1:16)
3. Makeshift classrooms (2:37)
Complete film (9:23)
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