on 5 January 2012
This interesting collection of public information films, produced by the Central Office of Information (COI) is made up of forty-five titles, (plus two bonus films) with the emphasis on safety, health and welfare. With advice for motorists and pedestrians, themes in other films include the likes of fire prevention, first aid and food poisoning. The advice aimed at the young includes the dangers of playing near water and electricity pylons, and crossing the road (The Green Cross Code).
The standouts for me include "Another Case Of Poisoning" and "The Motorway File". Although it had almost slipped from my memory, the appropriately titled "Say No To Strangers" quickly jogged my memory, and remains uncomfortable viewing.
With titles ranging from 1946 through to the year 2000, the sheer number of films certainly makes this collection look impressive, although what must be taken into consideration is the fact that many of the titles run for less than one minute. Having said that, this 2-disc set does provide an overall running time of around four hours (when including the bonus films). This nostalgic dip into the past should evoke many TV memories for those of a certain age. Picture and sound quality are generally good.
*Fully illustrated 28-page booklet containing notes and essays, plus full details of all the films.
*Dolby Digital mono audio.
*Optional English subtitles.
Here is a list of the films with a few details.
*MR JONES TAKES THE AIR.(1946,B/W,10 mins) - The inconsiderate Mr Jones believes he can drive as he pleases, in this road safety film.
*CHILD CYCLING PROFICIENCY/CYCLISTS TURNING RIGHT.(1950's,B/W,3 mins) - This primitive animation provides road safety advice for the cyclist.
*CAR BOOTY - GNOMES.(mid 1970's,colour,70 secs) - With the 'Gnomes' voiced by Kenneth Williams and Arthur Mullard, the message warns of the danger of leaving valuables in your car.
*LOOK BACK.(early 1960's,B/W,40 secs) - Look back before turning or overtaking.
*WORTH THE RISK?.(1948,B/W,9 mins) - Carelessness causes accidents: shock tactics are used to emphasise the dangers on the roads.
*MOTORCYCLE FASHION SCENE.(1965,B/W,1 min) - Fashionable 60's motorcycle/scooter riders attire on display.
*YOUR TURN.(mid 1970's,colour,50 secs) - A young vandal dreads every knock on the door in case it's the police.
*WELEPHANT.(1986,colour,90 secs) - A warning of the dangers of playing with matches.
*POP GOES THE WEASEL.(1948,B/W,10 mins) - "The Britons are a people who cheerfully comply with taxation" - the aim of this HM treasury sponsored film is to show the public how their taxes are spent.
*FAMILY INCOME SUPPLEMENT - CLOTHES.(early 1970's,colour,40 secs) - Info on how to claim your FIS.
*MOTORCYCLE LOVE AFFAIR.(1975,colour,1 min) - Chris Quinten (Brian Tilsley-Coronation Street) learns a little motorcycle safety.
*GRAIN DRAIN.(1975,colour,40 secs) - The dangers posed by farm grain pits is effectively displayed.
*CHARLEY'S MARCH OF TIME.(1948,colour,9 mins) - Animated government propaganda film heralding the introduction of national insurance contributions as cover "from the cradle to the grave".
*EMPLOYMENT SERVICE AGENCY - MOVING.(early 1970's,colour,1 min) - Showing how help with moving expenses can be provided when taking a job.
*ANOTHER WORLD.(1980,colour,3 mins) - Narrated by Tom Baker, (Doctor Who) the film tells of the increased dangers of driving at night.
*DISCO.(1989,colour,40 secs) - Crime prevention short, set in a disco, showing the casual light-fingered lifting of a purse.
*ANOTHER CASE OF POISONING.(1949,B/W,13 mins) - Occasionally amusing Ministry of Health information film, covering the dangers of food poisoning caused by poor hygiene practices.
*SKATEBOARD SAFETY.(1978,colour,40 secs) - The message is: wear the correct safety gear.
*GREEN CROSS CODE - HE'S GREAT.(1973,colour,30 secs) - David Prowse's famous Green Cross Code Man praises a youngster for taking his advice when crossing the road.
*CLEM AND LYDIA.(2000,colour,40 secs) - It's in the title!... an animated sex education short promoting the use of condoms to prevent the spread of STD's.
*ANSWER TO EMERGENCY.(1962,colour,20 mins) - A campaign film for the National Hospital Service Reserve, with the stories of 3 NHSR volunteers, with subjects including first aid.
*PRIDE IN DRIVING.(early 1960's,B/W,2 mins) - The message is: show thought and consideration to your fellow motorist.
*HAND.(early 1970's,colour,1 min) - Even a sparkler can be dangerous on bonfire night.
*ZIG ZAG - REMEMBER THE RULES.(early 1970's,colour,45 secs) - Zig Zag's on roads are there for a good reason.
*GREEN CROSS CODE - JULIE SAVES A LIFE.(early 1970's,colour,30 secs) - An animated road safety short.
*THE FURRY FOLK ON HOLIDAY.(1967,colour,13 mins) - Tufty the squirrel and friends offer simple safety advice to young children while on a seaside holiday.
*PLAY SAFE.(1978,colour,11 mins) - Aimed at the young, this part-animated public safety film highlights the dangers posed by electricity, be it from playing near overhead power cables, pylons or substations. The message is driven home effectively, thanks to some strong scenes.
*THE HOLE IN THE GROUND.(1962,colour,28 mins) - Made at the height of 'cold war' paranoia, this drama-documentary shows the work of the UK Warning and Monitoring Organisation, who's duties included the issuing of public warnings of any nuclear missile strike and the subsequent fallout.
*JOIN THE UDR.(early 1970's,colour,1 min) - Made as an Ulster Defence Regiment recruitment film, with dramatised scenes of the discovery of a weapons stash.
*PEACH AND HAMMER - CAROL HILL.(1973,colour,30 secs) - Another road safety short, emphasised with a splattered peach.
*UDR - CAR BOMB.(early 1970's,colour,45 secs) - Another recruitment film, with a mother and child coming across a car bomb.
*LOOK... SIGNAL... MANOEUVRE...(1965,colour,9 mins) - Road safety film aimed at motorcyclists, with some hard-hitting scenes to get the message over.
*WEAR BRIGHT GEAR.(1971,colour,50 secs) - The message from the young motorcycling couple is: wear bright gear and stay safe.
*OLDER PEDESTRIANS - TIME.(1971,colour,45 secs) - When the elderly are crossing the road, show consideration and give them time.
*GREEN CROSS CODE - BLOCKHEAD BOY.(1973,colour,30 secs) - David Prowse again offers safety advice on crossing the road.
*GRANNY GETS THE POINT.(1971,colour,25 mins) - The introduction of decimalisation, and the problems of adapting to the new currency experienced by various generations of a family living in a high-rise block.
*DON'T JUST BE A CLUNKER.(mid 1970's,colour,45 secs) - Part of the famous 'Clunk-Click' campaign to get motorists to wear seat belts, with graphic scenes of those refusing to 'belt-up'.
*TAKE AN ADULT.(early 1970's,colour,50 secs) - The dangers facing children playing near water.
*DAVE.(1990,colour,40 secs) - A stark drink-drive warning.
*THE MOTORWAY FILE.(1975,colour,31 mins) - Presented by Edgar Lustgarten, (Scotland Yard TV series) this drama tells the story of four dangerous drivers, in a warning to other motorists.
*PASSING PLACES.(1973,colour,90 secs) - More advice on safe motoring.
*LAUGHING MATTER.(late 1970's,colour,70 secs) - A drink awareness film starring Robbie Coltrane.
*UNDER YOUR FEET.(early 1970's,colour,30 secs) - A road safety short, carrying the message that children are 'better off under your feet than under a car'.
*SAY NO TO STRANGERS.(1981,colour,14 mins) - Another safety film that places children in potentially dangerous situations and asks the young target audience to think for themselves. The message is simple: never trust strangers.
*GREEN CROSS CODE - BLOCKHEAD GIRL.(1973,colour,30 secs) - A careless young girl is ticked off by the man in green and white.
*FIRE IS A NIGHTMARE - TOM.(mid 1970's,colour,50 secs) - A war veteran is caught in a housefire in this fire prevention short.
*NEW MARKINGS FOR ZEBRA CROSSINGS.(1971,colour,3 mins) - A comic short starring Roy Hudd in various guises, 'everything you need to know about zebra crossings'.