6.5/10
199
2 user 5 critic

Words for Battle (1941)

Poetry by Rudyard Kipling, John Milton, and William Blake, and excerpts from speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, all read by Laurence Olivier, illuminate documentary footage ... See full summary »

Director:

Humphrey Jennings (uncredited)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A tale of firefighters in London during the Blitz.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Philip Dickson, George Gravett, Fred Griffiths
Documentary | Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The true story of the massacre of a small Czech village by the Nazis is retold as if it happened in Wales.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Villagers of Cwmgiedd
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Edward R. Murrow
Short | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In preparation for the celebration of the 1951 Festival of Britain, this short film was released to assure British citizens of their nation's place in the world and of their own places ... See full summary »

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Michael Goodliffe
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister
Stars: Leonard Brockington, Joseph Macleod, Bud Flanagan
Documentary | War | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A tribute to the courage and resiliency of Britons during the darkest days of the London Blitz.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Harry Watt
Stars: Quentin Reynolds, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Nostalgic documentary short about the dying days of the age of sail as shown by the ships transporting china clay made notable for its director Humphrey Jennings and for being filmed in color.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Short | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration ... See full summary »

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Myra Hess, John Gielgud
Myra Hess (1945)
Documentary | Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Piano virtuosa Myra Hess performs Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, known as the "Appassionata", on stage in a concert hall. Hess performs only the first movement of the sonata.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Myra Hess
Spare Time (1939)
Documentary | Short | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A look at how industry workers spend their time when they are not at work.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Laurie Lee
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A short documentary about life in England during wartime. Narrated by Edward R. Murrow.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Documentary | Short | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

This film is structured around British attempts to prevent the V1 missiles from getting through to their targets. Gunners, pilots and barrage balloons are the layers of National Defence, layers of defence that can't be entirely successful.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Edward R. Murrow
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Laurence Olivier ... Narrator (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Poetry by Rudyard Kipling, John Milton, and William Blake, and excerpts from speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, all read by Laurence Olivier, illuminate documentary footage of England during its defense against the Nazi blitz in World War II. This short film serves as both propaganda and as a rallying cry to the British people. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Short | War

Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1941 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sanoja taisteluun See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Crown Film Unit See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Rousing propaganda piece
9 September 2007 | by pottedstuSee all my reviews

Made early in World War Two, this film offers inspiration to the people of Britain through a series of texts, mainly about the nature of Britain, drawn from great writers of the past and present. Laurence Olivier reads the poetry and prose in his customary powerful voice, and the words are accompanied by images of Britain which are often striking and poetic.

The film uses the writings of such classic English writers as Milton, Blake, Browning, and Kipling. From Kipling they choose the powerful but dark The Beginnings, which speaks of the time "when the English began to hate" and manages to be quite terrifying.

Also we hear Olivier reading from Churchill's speeches and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, making the film in part an appeal to Britain's American cousins to acknowledge their common culture and enter the war.

As propaganda it is effective: it's hard not to be moved by Britain's greatest actor reading Blake's Jerusalem. But at the same time, it's very vague in its message, more a reminder of British history than a manifesto of why we fought, and paradoxically it's only Lincoln's words that set out something of what the war was really about, the battle for liberty.

But visually, as you would expect from Jennings, there is much that is beautiful and arresting. A historical curio, but one still with plenty of interest.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Had 'No Expectations' for Emmys

"Fleabag" had a huge night at the Emmys, winning four awards including Outstanding Comedy Series. The creator and cast shared their feelings on the big night and the power of love.

Watch now

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed