Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
|Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) personnel at their anti-aircraft equipment in a London park. Doesn't appear to be a gun, perhaps a range-finder for batteries nearby. At least, I believe they are WAAFs.|
|At Waterloo Station, an express train pulls in from Bournemouth or one of the other cities along the coast. How do we know that? The passengers are overwhelmingly sailors on leave.|
Well, modern technology has come to the rescue. It turns out the skies actually were blue, people walked about normally just doing their business as they do now, and things looked pretty similar.
|A barrage balloon raised in Westminster Gardens near the Houses of Parliament. Mainly women took care of tasks like these.|
There has been an explosion of conversions of obscure old black-and-white newsreel footage due to improved artificial intelligence software. There are still limitations and they are bound to improve more with further enhancements, but these restored films are getting good enough to really open a window into the past.
The film in question shows ordinary street scenes of London sometime during World War II. Nothing special, just ordinary people during extraordinary times. Yes, it obviously was produced as a film project of some sort, but the scenes show reality rather than Hollywood artifice. If you want to understand the war years - and I assume you do since you're here - this is a good place to start.
|Soldiers reading the war news. It might be weeks or even months old and approved by Churchill's censors, but it was the only way to know what was going on.|
If you look closely at the vehicles, you'll notice that most have their headlamps covered. There was a blackout, you know. The few that don't stand out.
|Some London Bobbies patrolling amidst the ruins. Undoubtedly a staged scene, but that is what it looked like.|
Anyway, I hope my casual observations provide a little context to the film, which speaks for itself. If I have gotten anything wrong, kindly let me know in the comments. I hope you enjoy it!