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  • 3129 (Source: East Anglian Film Archive)

Date produced: 1939


D. Shaw Ashton

Country of Production:

United Kingdom









Sound Notes:



"Documentary on smoke pollution and the effects it has on people's health." (EAFA Database)


IAC Film Library Catalogue (Silent and Sound). Institute of Amateur Cinematographers, 1975.
This film is part of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers Collection held by the East Anglian Film Archive, Norwich, UK.


  • United Kingdom (Filming)






Institute of Amateur Cinematographers Collection, East Anglian Film Archive

Viewing Notes:

"Quote by Lewis Mumford “Black vomit spreads across the earth. ‘Smoke makes prosperity,’ they tell you here, no matter if you choke on it.” An outline of a map of the UK is shown. A cloud of dust flies over the map and the words ‘Black Vomit’ appear. Another cloud covers the map and a shot of a city covered with smoke pollution is shown. Close ups of various chimneys emitting clouds of black smoke. The camera pans over the rooftops in the city to show the thick pollution. Shot of a child covered in dirt sitting on the path followed by him looking up at the camera and smiling. Close up of his hand stretched out and the title ‘What is smoke?’ appearing on his palm. The word ‘Ash’ appears on one of his fingers followed by a shot of a chimney emitting smoke. Shot of a woman washing clothes in the sink followed by another woman dusting a grandfather clock. A woman putting away plates in the kitchen holds one up to the camera to show the dirt on it. Shot of a woman washing cloths in the sink.
The word ‘Tar’ appears on another of the boy’s fingers followed by a shot of a chimney emitting smoke. A building is shown with the words ‘Corrosive soot on public buildings costs 2 million a year in taxes’ written on it. Shot of buildings covered in soot. The word ‘Sulphuric Acid’ appears on another of the boy’s fingers followed by a steam train emitting smoke. Shot of chimneys with clouds of smoke coming out of the top. Close up of a bottle of sulphuric acid followed by a scientist pouring it into a test tube. The word ‘Carbon’ appears on another finger followed by a clip of chimneys emitting smoke over a graveyard. Close up of some carbon on a shovel.
The words ‘Bronchitis,’ ‘Asthma,’ ‘Rickets,’ ‘Tuberculosis,’ appear on a black background. The word ‘Grit’ appears on the boys thumb. Cartoon drawings of gravestones are used to illustrate that smoky areas of the country have a higher percentage of infant deaths due to lung illness. Shot of a child sitting down and rolling a ball across the ground. Close up of his stretched out hand. Shot of the boy playing with the ball inside the house. A warning written on the boys hand states that many products go up the chimneys in smoke. The words Plastics, paints/dyes, soaps/scents are shown with examples given for each. A clip is shown of a woman in the bath washing herself. The word ‘Medicine’ is shown followed by a clip of a nurse feeding a boy medicine. The word ‘Benzol’ is shown followed by a clip of a woman pouring Benzole into her car.
Bird's eye view of cars driving along the road followed by a close up of car exhausts. Shot of buses driving along the busy street. The words ‘Smoke is out of place in the new age’ is written on a black background. Shot of a plane in the sky followed by a clip of people driving a speed boat on the water and a shot of electricity pylons. Clip of children playing outside followed by close ups of black smoke in the sky. Shot of washing on the line with black smoke behind it." (EAFA Database)