6.4/10
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2 user 1 critic

A Defeated People (1946)

| Documentary, Short
Most of the footage for this film was shot in September and October of 1945 mainly in the ruined cities of Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Essen. The people (mainly women and children) huddled in ... See full summary »

Director:

Humphrey Jennings
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Cast

Cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Commentator (voice)
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Storyline

Most of the footage for this film was shot in September and October of 1945 mainly in the ruined cities of Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Essen. The people (mainly women and children) huddled in the unheated cellars of ruined houses without gas or any water save that from stand-pipes in the street. Written by Trevor

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Company Credits

Production Co:

Crown Film Unit See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Shattering document
20 November 2004 | by drlumiereSee all my reviews

This is a short film about the German people in the destroyed post-war Germany of 1946. I believe it was intended for army personal. There are lots of such films, what makes this one special are two things: The acclaimed documentarist Jennings has a very visual cinematic style that is lightyears ahead of the usual newsreel-stuff (which is the reason why many of his best shots out of this film were reused in many newsreels). Most important however, he does not attempt to create a propaganda film a la "the German people are not our friends" etc, instead it is what I summon a fairly realistic view of a defeated people and how they try to survive in a destroyed environment. It struck me as very odd that he did not even hesitate to criticize the British military government. There is some stunning footage of a completely overloaded train in Hamburg central station, which shows two completely swamped British mp's trying to get people "not to ride on the buffers". The commentary is very personal and moving at parts in describing the circumstances. One shot had me close to tears, it showed a couple of young children playing on a huge pile of debree while in the background you could see the tower of the St.Michaelis-Church of Hamburg. A spot where I often pass these days. If you have any chance to see this film (I saw it at a seminar for "Re-Educating Germany by Film") don't miss it. Jennings wrote a book about his film experiences (title escapes me) which is very worth reading (but quite rare I think).


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