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Shown by Request


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Director Colin Dean
Duration 18min 15sec
Release Date 1947
Sponsor Central Office of Information
Synopsis The work of mobile film units and the Central Film Library in distributing films of social and educational value all over the country
Text version of this film


When the Government decided to replace the wartime Ministry of Information in March 1946 with the Central Office of Information (COI), an official information service was considered to have 'an important and permanent part in the machinery of government' both at home and abroad.

Although varying in length, ranging from one-minute shorts to longer features, public information films were one of the channels that the government machine relayed their messages. Shown by Request demonstrates just how the government 'non-theatrical' movies, as they were described, were distributed and made accessible.

The use of mobile cinema units portrayed in the film was indicative of the medium available at the time. By 1950 the television revolution was taking off. The production of TV sets increased by 250 per cent. This development, and the decision to cut the Crown Film Unit's funding in the mid-1950s, resulted in mobile cinema units and the longer public information films became increasingly scarce.

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