Brilliant film about teaching foreign students (and yokels) to speak the "King's English" - superb!
Reel 1. A British Instructional Films Production made with the co-operation of the British Broadcasting Corporation. A film about the standardisation of the English Language.
C/U of a man making an irate gesture with a fist - he has a French accent and says: "The English Language is imbecile..." C/U of another man with a very clipped accent: "Why do you say that?" The two men discuss the fact that many different accents exist in England. The very upper class authority on language says that it is largely a matter of vowel sounds. He impersonates a Glasgow and a Cockney accent. There is then a discussion about the different pronunciation of consonants. The bow-tied Englishman says the word "bird" in three accents: American, Scottish and Cockney. The Frenchman announces: "That proves what I said, it is a mad language." The Frenchman picks up a newspaper and asks why a written sentence should be read differently in different regions. The Englishman speaks of how standardisation of the written word has taken a long time and the standardisation of the spoken word has only just begun - he points to the radio. The Frenchman says: "Mon cher ami, you are an optimist if you hope to standardise the English language by means of zee B.B.C.!" C/U of a radio. The expert states that he feels that broadcasting will give us a standard speech much quicker than it took print to give us standard spelling. He asks Frenchie to think about "the brains, the machines, the inventions, the men, the money that is employed before you can hear one single piece of news from the BBC.
01:06:39 Low angle shot of Broadcasting House, London. Camera moves in and pans down to the entrance. A doorman turns and opens the doors. Dissolve into a shot of a man at his desk. He moves into the next room and tears a piece of paper from some sort of telex machine. He hands it to his secretary who begins to type while he stands over her. C/U of typewriter as she transcribes the message. It is a news story about the Sir Malcolm Campbell's attempt on the world's speed record. She pulls the paper from the typewriter and the suited man takes it from the office, down some stairs and into an office where a news announcer sits at a desk reading cricket scores into a microphone.
01:07:50 He is handed the news report. He nods his head and we then see him in C/U. The man who delivered the message walks into a control room where the camera pans across men sitting at control panels twiddling knobs. High angle shot of a large room lined with large transmission machinery. Exterior tilting shot of a radio mast - camera pans to follow the cables which carry the news. The report about Malcolm Campbell is read aloud.
01:08:42 M/S of a group of people watching Campbell attempt the record (this is quite obviously staged and not filmed at the time.) A man looking through binoculars exclaims: "He's coming!" to which there is an exaggerated look from the others. L/S of spectators on the beach as Campbell roars past. C/U of binocular man who acts extreme excitement, he elbows his way through the crowd who all look very excited. He rushes into a building and asks: "Which is my line through to New York?" He goes into a telephone kiosk and phones the New York Star Press Association Editors Desk. In what now seems like a pastiche of the hard-boiled American stringer he files his report. Delaney at the Editor's Desk wears a poker visor and rolled up sleeves. He writes down the report and tells a colleague to cable it to London. C/U of a sign reading "Fleet Street". M/S of Fleet Street. Man walks through door of the Cable office. C/U of a light bulb coming on (presumably a very simple way of announcing the arrival of a cable!) Pan across to message emerging on thin tape from a machine. C/U of the typed message as it emerges. The tape is stuck to a piece of paper headed: "Foreign Cable." Four young boys sit on a bench. One of the boys gets up and takes the message, the others have a quick look at it before he leaves. The boy walks into a large open plan office - he almost collides with the tea lady who carries a tray of crockery. He hands over the message and notes are made on the paper as a voiceover directs man how it is to be set in the newspaper. The paper moves around the office as it goes through different parts of the news reporting process. The paper is attached to a pulley system and and it travels out of the office and down to the typesetters where an elderly man uses large printing typewriter to set the letters.