Films made to entertain children

From the 1930s, the film industry responded to concern about children’s reaction to the confusing experience of watching adult cinema. Research studies analysed the types of film which children would most enjoy, and the best way to convey a positive moral message. Films were produced specially for children’s cinema shows and entertainments which combined interest and adventure, with clear guidance on how to behave. Several films in this selection were made in the East of England specifically for the local character of buildings, landscape, and way of life.

Cat no. 1062

The Tortoise And The Hare

Running time3:12 Black & White Sound 1950s Beckenham, Kent

Road safety films were shown by schools and local councils, and films for different age groups found various ways to convey danger without showing accidents. This musical film for primary school children shows kerb drill, with a surprise ending.

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Cat no. 213709

The Case Of The Missing Scene

Running time45:32 Black & White Sound 1951 Norfolk

Film makers looking for the elusive Norfolk bittern capture evidence of poachers on the Norfolk Broads. An early film by distinguished director Don Chaffey.

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Cat no. 650

Letter From East Anglia

Running time10:48 Black & White Sound 1953 Salhouse, Norfolk

A day in the life of a Salhouse family living on the Norfolk Broads. The children go to school, then home for Norfolk stew and dumplings, followed by play adventure on a boat. One of series of films intended to show city children scenes of life in the countryside.

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Cat no. 2396

Secrets Of The Forest

Running time58:23 Black & White Sound 1955 Rendlesham, Suffolk

The Sutton Hoo treasure inspired this story of children discovering a Viking ship burial, and uncovering a burglars’ hiding place.

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Cat no. 558

Our Magazine: 15

Running time10:16 Black & White Sound 1955 Essex

One of series of films in magazine format showing different ways children spend their time at school and at home, and their various hobbies and interests.

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Cat no. 775

The Flood

Running time42:51 Black & White Sound 1963 Fens, Cambridgeshire

The 1947 floods in the Wisbech area of the Fens provides the background for this 1963 drama about children showing initiative and moral fibre when marooned on the family farm and threatened by leather-clad teenagers.

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