6.5/10
956
13 user 12 critic

Fires Were Started (1943)

A tale of firefighters in London during the Blitz.

Director:

Humphrey Jennings
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Philip Dickson Philip Dickson ... Walters (uncredited)
George Gravett George Gravett ... Dykes (uncredited)
Fred Griffiths Fred Griffiths ... Johnny Daniels (uncredited)
Johnny Houghton Johnny Houghton ... S.H. Jackson (uncredited)
Loris Rey Loris Rey ... J. Rumbold (uncredited)
William Sansom William Sansom ... Fireman Playing the Piano (uncredited)
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Storyline

A new man joins the civilian firefighters at a London unit during the Second World War. He meets his fellow firemen and firewomen, manages to enjoy some leisure time with them, and then goes on his first mission with the crew as it attempts to save an explosives warehouse on Trinidad Street near the London docks. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Featured in Documenting John Grierson (2014) See more »

User Reviews

War at Home
10 November 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

This is among the best "British Home" movies I know. I'm watching a few of these because I'm involved with the 7-up series and am fascinated by how the Brits like to define themselves in film.

This has a lot that recommends it in that way. It was made about the war during the war. Nearly all films of that period focused on the elements of being English that the citizens themselves wanted woven into their story.

It is about firefighters, a sort of military type but placed in the middle of lives. At home, not abroad. So they dance and joke as men in their native land, not in an alien place. Its defense in the purest of senses. The story in fact involves the Germans trying to bomb the docks to prevent war materiel from embarking. And you see valiant acts to protect the ships from the burning warehouses.

But most of all, it employs non-actors, real firemen of the time in their real firehouses and suits, more or less acting as they would (but we discover, with no swearing).

The whole thing is amazingly engaging. Sure the story is trite; nearly all are. Sure the actual cinematic values are ordinary. But it gobsmacks you to know that you are not seeing a set with actors. This is the real destruction. These are the real men.

Its no slick "Ladder 49" or "Private Ryan." Its far better.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1943 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

I Was a Fireman See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Crown Film Unit See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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