Retrospective on the life and work of Ernest Bevin.
Somerset. Various landscape shots. Bevin's farming ancestry is described, also his Trade Union career. Footage of early 1900s London traffic, pedestrians and horse drawn trams. C/U of two uniformed men posing with an electric tram. Bevin had been a tram conductor. Still photograph of Bevin at this time - in his late 30s. Footage of men hanging around on a street corner in the "difficult post war years of the 20s." Still of Bevin at a meeting of the old Dock Wharf Riverside and General Labourers Union. Panning shot of large crowd of men outside the Union building. Transport and General Workers Union created by Bevin. Various shots of men speaking animatedly at large public meetings of workers including a mass meeting in Trafalgar Square. Attended the Trades Union Council as a dockers' delegate. Court of Enquiry into the Dockers' conditions - newspaper report.
Industrial and social unrest in the 1920s are discussed. Various shots of industrial landscapes and of poor children in soup kitchen queues. Good C/U of boy eating hungrily from a bowl of soup. Men and women queue for some kind of vouchers. Bevin championed the causes of the poor and argued for better dockers wages. C/U of still of the young Bevin. Newspaper reports. High angle shot of workers during the general strike. Protest march - police, workers and banners. Shot of "the wheels grinding to a stop". Panning shot of empty factory floor, railway station with no train movement, shipyard deserted, More marching strike workers - various shots of workers, police, banners etc.
Bevin stands with other Trade Union officials. C/U of Churchill taking off his hat to onlookers. Various shots of buses being driven by strike breakers with a police guard. Various shots of workers at a Union meeting inside a factory. They vote on something with hands raised. The shop steward speaks. Conference table. Suited workers sit around a large table with papers in front of them. Union leaders and company officials. International Confederation of Trade Unions is mentioned on the soundtrack.
Narrator speaks of Bevin's increasing interest in the welfare of people overseas in the 1930s. The International Labour Organisation was designed to promote fair conditions of labour.
Hitler and the Second World War. Bevin speaks out for the nation - we hear his speech about social democracy over footage of the Nazis - military manoeuvres, Hitler making a speech, people stand on the streets and make the Nazi salute as military vehicles move into Austria and Hitler travelling in an open topped car. Building where Munich peace talks took place. C/U of Bevin at his writing desk. Montage of home front activity - "Keep Calm and Dig" newspaper advertising board. Men digging some kind of trenches in Hyde Park. Mansion House Territorial Army Information Bureau is seen. Men sign up (?) Various shots of dockers. A group of dockers do "three cheers" for Bevin. Children are fitted with gas masks. Shot of evacuees walking along a railway station platform. C/U of a mother crying. Train filled with children passes the camera. They lean out of the windows and some boys give the thumbs up sign.
Military manoeuvres. Soldiers man outpost by the coast. Men manning Bren guns. C/U of front pages of Evening Standards: "Nazis invade Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg: French Towns Bombed.", "Germans Advance on Wide Front", "335,000 Saved From Dunkirk in 1000 Ships". Dunkirk - troops being evacuated.
Bevin as Minister for Labour. He walks with King George VI through a factory. Bevin's speech about the courage and devotion of the sons of free peoples. He speaks of how everything must be used in the supreme effort for victory. Soldiers on the march and workers in factory. Aircraft manufacture. Spitfires (?) taking off. Air combat. Bevin slams a car door and smiles at the camera.
Shots of artillery fire at night - air raid sirens. Voiceover speaks of the industrial atmosphere of Britain changing. Bevin's role in setting up welfare arrangements. Men climb down from amphibious vehicles and wade through the sea on D-day. German's retreating through burning fields. Victory crowds in London. Churchill, Attlee and Bevin stand on the Whitehall balcony and look down on the crowds. Churchill gives the "V for Victory" sign.
Bevin climbs into a car after tipping someone. Various shots of Bevin and his wife meeting dignitaries on a trip to Russia as Britain's Foreign Secretary. Kremlin in L/S. Shots of Bevin arriving at, and participating in, many different conferences. Arriving at an airport Bevin waves away Pathe and BBC microphones. He attends Potsdam, Brussels, Moscow, Paris, Washington and the Far East. Bevin's role in NATO is mentioned on the soundtrack. The Colombo conference relating in the Colombo plan is featured. Bevin embraced the Marshall Plan. Ticker tape parade as Bevin is driven through American streets.
Bevin speaks of how he wanted the working men and women of Europe to have a decent standard of life. Narrator states: "in truth he spoke for humanity."
Central Office of Information logo at the end of the reel.
Note: an interesting documentation file exists for this film which includes correspondence between Pathe and the Central Office of Information. There is also a full shot list for this film.
Retrospective on the life and work of Ernest Bevin.
- Religion & Politics
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