A Welcome to Britain (1943)

  |  Documentary


A Welcome to Britain (1943) Poster

A film presented by the British War Office for newly arrived World War 2 American soldiers, informing them of British ways.


7.2/10
65

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Directors:

Anthony Asquith , Burgess Meredith

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3 April 2019 | boblipton
8
| Two Countries Separated By A Common Language
Burgess Meredith co-directs with Anthony Asquith, and stars in this training film. He explains in his intimate, awkward manner, how to behave in pubs and in British homes. He talks about Black soldiers, and is lectured by General John C.H. Lee on racial equality. He has Felix Aylmer (who is dressed as Mr. Chips) on the geography of the United Kingdoms and has his pockets picked by Bob Hope.

It's a thoroughly enjoyable training film, but the most astonishing bit it watching him smoke a cigarette in a huge cigarette holder. My earliest identification of him as an actor was as the Penguin in TV's BATMAN; this movie made me wonder if he had been cast in the role because of this short feature -- 38 minutes in the print I watched, cut down from an original running time of an hour. Beatrice Lillie, alas, did not appear in this copy.

Nowadays it's hard to realize how foreign Great Britain was to many American soldiers during the Second World War. In a land where they spoke the same language, it must have been difficult to recognize the differences in culture, how rationing affected relationships, and the English fascination with tea. This movie tells that story with wit and good humor.

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