The British Film Industry and “The Way We Live” (1946)

A 2007 documentary on the bombing of Plymouth by the Nazis during World War II. Jill Craigie’s 1946 film The Way We Live called for the post-war reconstruction of the city to be planned by a central authority.


Postwar Urban Redevelopment, the British Film Industry and The Way We Live (1946)


In Mark Shiel and Tony Fitzmaurice (eds.), Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context, Oxford, Blackwell (2001), ISBN 978-0-631222-43-9 (print) / 978-0-470712-94-8 (online), DOI 10.1002/9780470712948, pp. 233-243.


Based on research for my PhD dissertation, his chapter discusses the production and release of The Way We Live (UK, 1946, dir. Jill Craigie) in the context of broader issues to do with the way British cinema portrayed the post-war reconstruction process and in the context of the Rank Organisation‘s economic dominance of the British film industry in the 1940s. I argue that by sponsoring a major, feature length documentary dealing with a significant policy area of the post-war Labour government, Rank was attempting to deflect attempts to increase the regulation of his business activities.

Please note: I have received regular email enquiries over the years asking me if The Way We Live is available on DVD or for viewing online.  As far as I am aware, it is not and has never been, and neither has the film ever been broadcast on UK terrestrial television.  The British Film Institute / National Film and Television Archive has a 35mm print that is available for researchers to view on a Steenbeck at their central London premises, and this was what I saw in carrying out the research for this chapter.  As far as I know, this is the only way you will currently be able to see the film.


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