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The Forgotten: Shangri-La

After World War Two, just as the Us was getting hot under the collar about imaginary left-wing plots to seduce the nation via hidden messages in the movies, by a remarkable coincidence British cinema was infiltrated by a genuine socialist conspiracy.

Late in the war, as victory began to seem graspable, people started thinking about what kind of United Kingdom they wanted to live in: Winston Churchill may have led the nation through the conflict, but now something different was required. Sir Michael Balcon, head of Ealing Studios, was part of a group of filmmakers and creative types working behind the scenes to prepare the ground for a Labour government and the introduction of socialist programmes like the National Health Service.

Humphrey Jennings' eloquently understated propaganda short A Diary for Timothy looks at a new-born baby and wonders what kind of world he'll grow up in: as critic Raymond Durgnat observed,

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