See also 3467.04 which may be better quality version of this documentary.
Reel 1. "The Great Crusade - the Story of a million Homes." Scenario: H. Brandon Fleming. Technical Consultant: Alister (sic) MacDonald A.R.I.B.A. Production Manager: Fred. Watts. Assistants: Charles R. Martin. A. Farmer. W.A.C.A. Yearsley. G. Newberry. Kenneth Gordon. R. De Groot. Thanks are due to the local Authorities for their help. Also to Mr. J.B. Priestley for his assistance in connection with the Scenario. And to the public-spirited men and organizations (sic) whose aid made this film possible." Landscapes of England with voiceover about our: "Green and Pleasant Land." Rolling hills, birds flying above a lake, horses pulling a plough, waterfall, oast house, haystacks, horse pulling a cart in a village street, windmill etc. School prize giving. Teacher presents a girl called Molly with a book. She thanks him. Several teachers stand and children sit at their desks. Teachers and children applaud as Molly takes the book and returns to her desk. M/Ss of children applauding. Outside the school gates. Children run around, C/U of Molly and her brother Lenny leaving school. (Preceding section is missing on print.) They walk along a pavement hand in hand - M/S. The girl's name is Molly. L/S of them walking along wasteland - presumably an area of bomb damage. Voiceover talks of the fact that Molly lives in one of the worst slum districts of London - darkness and squalor are her experience of her surroundings. The children walk through a gate towards a house with broken windows. Top shot of terraced street in the slum district. Good shots of slum streets. Children hanging around. Domestic interior. Children sit at the dinner table while Mother prepares to serve them a meal. C/U of boy eating a piece of bread. Mother spreads butter on bread. C/U of young girl lifting baby out of its high chair. She then sits at the table with the baby on her lap. C/U of the leg of the table which is supported by a wedge as the floor is so uneven. Various shots of the family having their meal. Narrator observes that in a modern farm not even cattle would be stalled in such conditions. C/Us of broken windows and rotting window frames. Mother puts the baby to bed, in the same bed as other children. C/U of the children being tucked in. "Molly's mother has long since given up trying to keep the vermin out of the bed at night." The mother puts other blankets over the children. C/U of three children in bed.
C/U of a candle in a bottle. Molly sleeps on the floor - we see her pull a coat over herself and lie down. She used to be scared by the scuffling of the rats at night but now she is used to them. C/U of one of the children talking to the baby in bed. Shots of a sheet of newspaper up at the window and water dripping on the inside of the walls. Shot of the outside of a terraced house. Slum houses in Sheffield are mentioned. Washing lines in the back yard of a terrace. Two women walk along a slum street in Manchester. Two cats are seen sitting on a rooftop from a low angle. A shoeless child plays in a barren backyard. Bradford slums - various shots of housing. People out on the slum streets - women talking to neighbours, children running along, man riding a bike. Portsmouth, Yarmouth, Bristol, Plymouth, Birmingham and Nottingham's slums are all mentioned. Quintessential slum shots include children crowded in back alleys, washing lines, children playing "catch" on wasteland, two women with shopping baskets walking through slum street, group of women in aprons laughing, children playing in the streets, baby in a pram outside a house, cats etc. Still photograph of a haggard looking man in a flat cap is superimposed on the corner of a shot of slum housing. Voiceover speaks of deprivation and illness of those who live in the slums. Shots of men looking dejected and depressed in doorways and on street corners, a group of men stand and chat, some smoke, one reads a newspaper and another spits on the pavement: "Remember that none of these men knew they were being photographed." L/S of many children standing on the steps of a broken down building. Three boys play with a cart of broken bricks amongst general rubble. In a play fight a couple of the boys roll around on the ground. The cart is tipped over. Various shots of groups of children playing or sitting in generally slummy surroundings. Good C/Us of some grubby faced children. C/U of feet of children and muddy ground. Voiceover speaks of King George VI and a speech he had made about the abolition of the slums. King is seen accompanied by an entourage but he seems to be in a country area rather than a "distressed area."
Minister of Health, Sir Kingsley Wood, sits at a desk and makes a speech about the 300,000 houses in England and Wales that are unfit for human habitation and the 1,300,000 people who live in them under conditions that are a national disgrace. He says this must be altered.
Various shots of men working to demolish and clear slum dwellings. Voiceover talks of the government's 5 year plan to abolish the slums. Several shots of walls being pushed over.
Shot of the crowd at a football match; commentator says there are around 20,000 people there and says 65 times that number is the amount of people that need to be rehoused by 1938. More than the combined populations of the towns of Plymouth, Yarmouth, Bristol, Canterbury, Exeter, Hastings, Norwich, York, Lincoln, Chester and Derby - brief scenic shots of each town.
Note: Damaged perfs on pos of reel 1 and incomplete, therefore neg of reel 1 is working copy. Neg of reel 2 has rack problems, therefore use pos.