Christmas Under Fire

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Christmas Under fire is a World War II propaganda film created by the G.P.O film unit under the instruction of the Ministry of Information. It was released in 1941 in an attempt to get the isolated United States to engage Germany and the Axis powers in World War II. The purpose of the film according to the director Harry Watt was to make Americans feel “Uncomfortable while they celebrated Christmas.”(Sarah Street, 79). The film showed the Christmas of 1940 which occurred at the height of the Blitz of London. The Blitz of London was a period of intense aerial bombing of London and the surrounding area. These attacks happened in night-time raids to instill fear and destroy the morale of the British people. The government used its control over the media to maintain the appearance that life was going on as normal despite the nightly bombings. This is apparent in other propaganda films, such as “London can take it”. Which is the prequel to Christmas under Fire. Although Christmas under Fire was a British publication, it was written and narrated by American Quentin Reynolds. Quentin Reynolds was a popular London based correspondent for Collier’s Weekly. He had already written and narrated two other British Propaganda films, London can take it and London’s Reply to False Claims. He was popular in Britain with his verbal abuse of Hitler and his praise for the British people.(Schoolnet.co.uk) At the time a British poll’s placed Reynolds second to Winston Churchill in popularity. He was a well-respected war correspondent, being one of the last foreign correspondents to leave Paris before the German Army moved in.(Schoolnet.co.uk). Serving as a link between British and American culture he narrates the film as omniscient entity. Describing the Wartime Christmas preparations and the hardships that the British people face. The Christmas under Fire is a film highlight the contrasts between the traditional Christmas and the Christmas that British citizens are facing. The first scene is of the narrator, Quentin Reynolds, giving background information for the film.

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