A Letter from Home
A Letter from Home – 1941 | 17mins | War, Propaganda | B&W
During the war, Carol Reed expressed his patriotism through his camera, first as a civilian, using military themes, then as a member of the Army Kinematographic Service, where he made official training films. A Letter from Home, a seventeen-minute salute to the courage of Londoners who had endured the Nazi blitz, was produced under the auspices of the Ministry of Education for foreign consumption. The short documentary juxtaposes a cursory letter from an English mother (Celia Johnson, in her first screen appearance) to her children – who have been evacuated to the United States for greater safety – with the details of her life. Existence in London at this time is shown as a daily drama of loyalty, dedication and self-sacrifice. Through a catalogue of Johnson’s daily activities, including her work as an air-raid warden, the film creates a tight-lipped drama of courage, loyalty and self-sacrifice among the wives of London that, as propaganda films go, remains quite stirring.