If War Should Come
This government information film offers practical advice and reassurance to householders about what to do in the event of a looming war.
Released into cinemas in late August 1939, the film was part of a wider media campaign which included the leaflet ‘Some Things You Need to Know if War Should Come’.
The film comprises a catalogue of civil defence precautions to be taken by householders, including the use of gas masks, air–raid shelters and black–out procedures.
The commentator’s confident tone and use of an Elgar soundtrack – at times bombastically militaristic, at others gently soothing – were designed to instil calm and reassurance at a time of great anxiety.
Just a few days after the original film project was completed, however, war was declared, and the film hastily revised and given the more urgent title ’Do it Now!’. The final film was shown in 2,000 cinemas throughout the country in the week beginning 18 September 1939. It was one of the last films to be produced by the General Post Office Film Unit before it was incorporated into the Films Division of the war–time Ministry of Information and renamed the Crown Film Unit.