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12 user 9 critic

Fires Were Started (1943)

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 ... See full summary »

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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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
See full technical specs »
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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 »

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User Reviews

A realistic drama documentary about the blitz.

As in 'The Silent Village' Jennings is here experimenting with improvised dialogue (there was no proper shooting script) and an amateur cast (who were all serving London firemen). However, the result has been expanded into what is virtually a full-length drama.

Again, there are haunting images. But the whole thing is played in such a low-key fashion that everything looks natural. (One of the fireman who took part said that it was an accurate representation - apart from the omission of the universal swearing!)

The most famous scene is the group preparing for the nights work. Each enters to a verse of the old counting song 'One Man Went To Mow', which is being accompanied on the piano. How many will be left by morning?

The film was released in two versions - hence the two titles. It was very well received, but eclipsed by the release of another (more conventional) film about the fire service called 'The Bells Go Down', starring the popular comedian Tommy Trinder. (This is not to disparage this feature film, which was also realistic in its approach.)


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