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
74

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Directors:

Anthony Asquith , Burgess Meredith

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27 July 2017 | Calaboss
8
| Fascinating
During World War II, the influx of American troops to Great Britain in 1942 caused a great deal of tension on both sides. Much of it had to do with women, of course. Your basic Tommy was making $15 a month, and the lowest ranked American buck private was making $50. Our brash American GI's would just walk up to British gals and say, "Hi, good-looking, can I take you out to dinner and a dance?" They were free to give out nylon stockings and other gifts, and the British guys couldn't match it. Naturally, British women (or any women) liked having money spent on them, so were happy to go out with the Americans. This led to a common lament among Tommy's that the Yanks were "overpaid, oversexed, and over here." It was like a country full of David Niven's and Hugh Grant's was invaded by hundreds of thousands of John Wayne's and Robert Mitchum's.

This sort of tension led to this film short, introducing American soldiers, headed to or in Britain, on how to behave a little more conservatively than they were used to doing at home. Some basic info about warm beer, the war rationing the Brits were enduring, the never-ending pots of tea, not throwing their money around, and basic guest manners are given.

Burgess Meredith, who is now probably best known as Mickey, from the Rocky movies, The Penguin from the old Batman TV series, and some classic Twilight Zone appearances, is our guide and narrator. He moves through various situations our soldiers are likely to run into in Britain, and frequently breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the camera, and American troops, to give some guidance.

I think some things got too little attention, like the money thing. A threepence is how much of a half crown? A quid is a pound like a buck is a dollar, but a bob is what again? Frankly, I still have no clue how they did it, and I have access to Google.

I think this short is a fantastic piece of history in itself, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended for any war or history buffs. Available on Youtube.

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