|The Big Blockade|
|Directed by||Charles Frend|
|Written by||Charles Frend|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Starring|| Leslie Banks |
|Cinematography|| Wilkie Cooper |
|Edited by|| Compton Bennett |
|Music by|| Richard Addinsell |
orchestrated by Roy Douglas
|Distributed by||United Artists Ltd (UK)|
The Big Blockade is a 1942 British black-and-white war propaganda film in the style of dramatised documentary. It is directed by Charles Frend and stars Will Hay, Leslie Banks, Michael Redgrave and John Mills. It was produced by Michael Balcon for Ealing Studios, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Warfare.
At one stage, the film was known as Siege.
This is a propaganda film in which the British strategy of the economic blockade of Nazi Germany is illustrated through a series of scenes and sketches, combined with documentary footage.
Although released in 1942 it was largely made in 1941 so part of the story is complaint of America's non-involvement.
The film's commentary is made by the journalist and former Liberal MP Frank Owen.
The film premiered at the London Pavilion on 19 January 1942, and the premiere was attended by a group of members of Parliament interested in economic warfare.The film was not well received by The Times, whose critic in 1942 found that "this particular hotch-potch is, as propaganda, woefully unconvincing. It is splendid to give audiences a glimpse of the devoted work done by the Services […] but actors got up as comic Nazi business men distort the lessons the more serious parts of the film are trying to drive home", and modern film reviewers are not very much kinder to it.
Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave CBE was an English stage and film actor, director, manager and author. He received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Mourning Becomes Electra (1947), as well as two BAFTA nominations for Best British Actor for his performances in The Night My Number Came Up (1955) and Time Without Pity (1957).
Sir John Mills was an English actor who appeared in more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades. He excelled on camera as an appealing British everyman who often portrayed guileless, wounded war heroes. In 1971, he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Ryan's Daughter.
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Michael Rennie was a British film, television and stage actor, who had leading roles in a number of Hollywood films, including his portrayal of the space visitor Klaatu in the science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). In a career spanning more than 30 years, Rennie appeared in more than 50 films and in several American television series.
Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding was an English stage, television, and film actor. He is best known for a series of films he made with Anna Neagle; he also made two films with Alfred Hitchcock, Under Capricorn (1949) and Stage Fright (1950); and even guest starred on Hitchcock's TV show in 1963. He was married four times, including to Elizabeth Taylor, with whom he had two sons.
William Thomson Hay was an English comedian who wrote and acted in a schoolmaster sketch that was popular all over the world, and later transferred to the screen, where he also played other authority figures with comic failings. His film Oh, Mr. Porter! (1937), made by Gainsborough Pictures, is often cited as the supreme British-produced film-comedy, and in 1938 he was the third highest-grossing star in the UK. Many famous comedians have acknowledged him as a major influence. Hay was also a keen amateur astronomer.
Phyllis Hannah Murray-Hill, known professionally as Phyllis Calvert, was an English film, stage and television actress. She was one of the leading stars of the Gainsborough melodramas of the 1940s such as The Man in Grey (1943) and was one of the most popular movie stars in Britain in the 1940s. She continued acting until some 50 years later.
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The Black Sheep of Whitehall is a 1942 British black-and-white comedy war film, directed by Will Hay and Basil Dearden, starring Will Hay, John Mills, Basil Sydney and Thora Hird in her screen debut. It was produced by Michael Balcon and Ealing Studios.
Leslie Armande Norman was an English post-war film director, producer and editor who also worked extensively on 1960s television series later in his career.
Charles Herbert Frend was an English film director and editor, best known for his films produced at Ealing Studios. He began directing in the early 1940s and is known for such films as Scott of the Antarctic (1948) and The Cruel Sea (1953).
Leslie Arliss was an English screenwriter and director. He is best known for his work on the Gainsborough melodramas directing films such as The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady during the 1940s.
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The Foreman Went to France is a 1942 British Second World War war film starring Clifford Evans, Tommy Trinder, Constance Cummings and Gordon Jackson. It was based on the real-life wartime exploits of Welsh munitions worker Melbourne Johns, who rescued machinery used to make guns for Spitfires and Hurricanes. It was an Ealing Studios film made in 1941 with the support of the War Office and the Free French Forces. All of the 'heroes' are portrayed as ordinary people caught up in the war.
Edward Black was a British film producer, best known for being head of production at Gainsborough Studios in the late 1930s and early 1940s, during which time he oversaw production of the Gainsborough melodramas. He also produced such classic films as The Lady Vanishes (1938). Black has been called "one of the unsung heroes of the British film industry." In 1946 Mason called Black "the one good production executive" that J. Arthur Rank had. Frank Launder called Black "a great showman and yet he had a great feeling for scripts and spent more time on them than anyone I have ever known. His experimental films used to come off as successful as his others."
Margaret Johnston was an Australian actress. Johnston was best known for her stage performances, but also appeared in 12 films and a handful of TV productions before retiring from acting in 1968 to devote herself to running a theatrical agency.
For Those in Peril is a 1944 British war film produced by Ealing Studios that marked the directorial debut of Charles Crichton. The film was developed from a short story by Richard Hillary, an RAF pilot killed in action in January 1943. The basic and relatively slight storyline of For Those in Peril was an end to produce a film with a documentary feel and an element of wartime propaganda. The film stars Ralph Michael and David Farrar.
The Blockade of Germany (1939–1945), also known as the Economic War, involved operations carried out during World War II by the British Empire and by France in order to restrict the supplies of minerals, fuel, metals, food and textiles needed by Nazi Germany – and later by Fascist Italy – in order to sustain their war efforts. The economic war consisted mainly of a naval blockade, which formed part of the wider Battle of the Atlantic, but also included the bombing of economically important targets and the preclusive buying of war materials from neutral countries in order to prevent their sale to the Axis powers.