Men, War and Film (Book)

The Calling Blighty Films of World War II

The story and analysis of the Calling Blighty series of films made by the Combined Kinematograph Service in Burma and India between 1943 and 1946. These are remarkable and moving documents, a one-way Skype of their day, where men – and a very few women – sent spoken messages home to be shown to families and sweethearts in local cinemas. 42 illus.

Category: Film Studies


The Calling Blighty series of films produced by the Combined Kinematograph Service around the end of World War II were one-reel films in which soldiers of the “Forgotten Army” gave short spoken messages to the camera as a means of connecting the front line and the home front. Shown in local cinemas, these were the first films in which men spoke openly in their regional accents, and they hold profound meaning for remembrance, documentary representation, and the ecology of film in wartime. Of the four hundred films made on the Far Eastern Front, only sixty-four survive. Until now, however, these films have barely been researched, despite being a valuable source of social history. This book expands the history of Calling Blighty, placing it in a broader context for contemporary audiences.

Steve Hawley is an artist/filmmaker whose work has been screened worldwide, and has collaborated closely with the North West Film Archive UK. He is emeritus professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

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