Second World War propaganda - pre-war France is remembered during their time of occupation.
Reel 1. World War Two propaganda film. Titles: "The Fighting French Film Unit Presents Emlyn Williams in I Was At School In France... with Gladys Henson and with the co-operation of Free French Children."
Assistant Producer C.T. Jay, Camera Hal Young, Marylebone Studios. Produced and Directed by Albert Edward Carr.
Newspaper front pages superimposed over shots of tanks, aircraft and marching soldiers in Dunkirk. Narrator sits in his front room incredulous at the news of Petain's surrender. His housekeeper comes into the room, turns on the light, draws the curtains and talks of France. He looks at a statue of the Eiffel Tower on his desk as he reminisces of his time spent in Paris. Shots of French landmarks are superimposed over an image of him seated at his chair to illustrate his memories. He talks of world war one. He picks up the phone to talk about his despair then changes his mind, goes to the bookcase but cannot read. Everything in his room reminds him of France.
A montage sequence of French memories including day to day scenes of cafes, women hanging out washing, sweeping their steps etc. He speaks of the tolerance of the French for people of different nationality and race. Shots of restaurants, clubs and cafes. But then shots of switches being pulled and lights going out. The housekeeper returns. He hasn't been to bed. She asks him if Britain has been betrayed by the French. He puts a gramophone record on. He has a vision of flowers dying. Women picking flowers in the fields. He thinks of another France - "the France of the peasants".
Reel 2. World War Two propaganda film.
Shots of rural scenes in France. A barge, a lock, windmill, children fishing, mothers and their children. A man milks a cow and directs the stream at a kitten. Waterfall. The French Alps. Skiing. Food cooking over a rustic fire. Fades into a shot of his living-room fire. He sits by the fireside in his dressing-gown typing. His "char lady and her grandson" have been bombed out and are staying with him. The boy comes in to see him and he shows him some photographs of himself in France. Good shots of skiing, sledging and ice skating. South of France: swimming, beach scenes, leapfrogs on the sand, general pleasure in the sun, shots of children having fun. Contrasted with shots of Hitler Youth marching through the streets. C/Us of members of the movement. Shots of liners, one flying the French flag. French children walking to school and seated at their school desks. Sequence of black clouds on the horizon with a child superimposed.
Men work on bomb damaged buildings. C/U shots of men's faces. Churchill in France. A maid brings glasses for a toast, to Britain and Free France. C/U of a young man drinking. Military manoeuvres, hostages on the march. The narrator receives a letter from France. Shots of children in "Le Jardin de Luxembourg" playing with toy sailboats. French sailing boats. Sailors on board in uniform looking through sextants, operating machinery, general nautical manoeuvres. Airmen. Soundtrack speaks of the loneliness of the military when they are away from their families. March pasts. Saluting de Gaulle. Various military personnel at their work. Orphaned children in the "Free French" uniform carry a flag and look to the heavens. Superimposed over a shot of the sun bursting through the clouds is the word "Liberté".
Note: 2 reels are spliced together.