• Short Summary

    Documentary about life in Iraq - political history, religion, traditions, industry etc.

  • Description

    Reel 2. 01:00:08 Landscape shots in Iraq. A ziggurat. Cuneiform writing in C/U. Scenes in "Ur" - broken domestic pots on the ground. Ruins of Babylon. Animals carved from brick have survived through the centuries - unicorns?. Various shots of ruined architecture, ancient walls of the city. Conquerors of Iraq are described, Persians, Partheons, Greeks and then, the Arabs. Various shots of statues and inscribed stones of Nimrud (?).

    01:00:59 Mecca is mentioned in the commentary, line of horses seen on the horizon. Men riding them wave flags. M/S of them riding away from the camera. Various C/Us of Iraqi art. Islam and The Arabian Nights are mentioned. Mongol hoards sweeping over the land are described. Shots of ruined Arab palace.

    01:02:00 Bedouin (or Beduin) encampment in the desert. Various shots of nomads, their camels and goats, their tents, C/U of nomad. Minarets of a mosque. L/S of Arab praying, call to prayer on the soundtrack. Closer view of the man as he says his prayer. M/S of group of men genuflecting. C/U of priest reciting Koran.

    01:03:22 High angle of coronation procession. Various shots of the procession and crowds. C/U of a radio announcer speaking into a microphone. C/U of man tuning in a radio. C/Us of local men listening to the broadcast. M/S of oil workers listening to loud speaker broadcast. Various shots of Arabs, workers, villagers listening to radio broadcast. Guns fire a salute. King emerges after having given the Oath of Allegiance. Excited crowd - King salutes from the carriage.

    01:04:15 M/S workers entering a cement works. Large revolving drum at cement works. C/Us man with surveying instrument. Irrigation systems are described. Various shots of construction - a dam. Oil field development - various shots of men at work drilling for oil.
    01:05:01 C/U of a banner showing a representation of the King. Military band plays the National Anthem, the King watches a march past - men dressed in white uniform (the Cavalry) ride horses past for inspection. Soldiers march past. Iraq's fighting force is described. Narrator speaks of "making the desert green again" over montage sequence showing dams and agriculture scenes. Oil works. Large bridge. Burning oil fields - "eternal fire of Baba Gurgur." Revenue from oil is "helping Iraq to lay the foundation for a new standard of well being for all her people."

    01:06:34 Elaborately decorated float in the Coronation parade. King watches the floats pass, some have beautiful women seated upon them, some are richly decorated with flowers. C/u of boys walking towards school past the camera, they hold hands with each other. M/S of school. Another school scene - this time a girls school. "When you see these young girls in their Western clothes, so assured and confident, you are inclined to forget how surprised their mothers would have been..." Various shots of women in a laboratory setting. Narrator describes how women are training for jobs their parents generation believed could only be done by men. C/Us of the girls and their teacher. M/S of electrical students fiddling with a valve oscillator. Various shots of nurses in training, then a nurse at work in the open air performing health checks on children.

    01:07:52 Children in a playground having a game of hopscotch. Young girls in a dressmaking class - C/U of a girl pinning up a hem. Girl admires her dress in the mirror. Section about the arts, man plays a lute. Seems to be a music class. M/S of an art class. Men paint a life model (she is fully clothed). C/U of one of the paintings. Sculpture class - various shots. C/Us of ancient bas relief sculptures. C/U sculpture of a Greed goddess. C/U of a girl playing. C/U Arab men. Men board a plane. Aerial shots of Baghdad from an aircraft. "Produced by The Pathe Documentary Unit in association with Film Centre."

    Note: This film was made for the Iraq Petroleum Co. See documentation file - includes shot list, music cue sheet etc.

    Review in The Baghdad Post in 2017: “Despite the movie's aged Orientalist tone, it is still a jarring reminder that nothing in history is inevitable and that there was a time when even one of the world's most problematic countries seemed like it was on a promising trajectory.”

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    1950 - 1959
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:00:08:00 / 01:09:41:00

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