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Women in Wartime by Michael Brooke
Introduction WWI WWII: Propaganda WWII: Newsreels WWII: Food Features: 1939-42
Features: 1943 Features: 1944-45 Gainsborough Women Filmmakers    
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WWII: Food
Still from Food Advice Centres

Food Advice Centres (1941)

One of the Ministry of Information's key propaganda tasks was to inform people in general and women in particular of various issues regarding food during wartime, and its creation, distribution, purchase, preparation and rationing, at home, at work and even when eating out.

Food Advice Centres (1941) is a trailer made for the Ministry of Food promoting their outlets for information on how to make the most effective use of the ration book, as well as offering the services of official Food Advisors who would do home visits, accompany housewives when shopping and so on.

Filling the Gap (1942) is an animated film made by Halas & Batchelor for the Ministry of Agriculture, created as part of the cross-media publicity campaign 'Dig For Victory', which aimed to encourage people to become self-sufficient by growing their own vegetables. The Way To His Heart (1942) was more specific, promoting the possibilities of the humble potato - though it is just as interesting for stylistic reasons, as it deliberately parodies World War I propaganda films, many of which would still have been remembered by older audience members.

Emergency Cooking Stoves (1941) provides much-needed advice about how to cater for people in the event of emergencies ranging from temporary power failures to full-scale bombing devastation. The resulting stoves could be used to feed as many as a hundred people. A similar function was performed by the Women's Voluntary Service, celebrated in The Queen's Messengers (1941), a dramatised account of a night spent supporting people bombed out of their homes.

Food For Thought (1943) was shown as part of Warwork News' 37th edition, and designed to promote the virtues of the industrial canteen as an alternative to making sandwiches at home, the latter being a less efficient use of resources. In doing so, the film also discusses related issues such as the economics of mass cooking and the nutritional value of the resulting meals.

Eating Out with Tommy Trinder (1941) used one of Britain's most popular comic actors as the front-man for a propaganda piece promoting British Restaurants, a government initiative designed to encourage communal eating - the film emphasises that the restaurants are genuinely classless. The importance of everyone getting together and mucking in across class and gender lines formed a crucial plank of the government's message, and it was one that also found its way into mainstream feature films.

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