Development of the Rabbit




'The film shows the simple cell division of the embryo sea urchin, describes the simplest species of egg-laying mammals, and proceeds to the embryology of the rabbit. The development of the embryo in the rabbit is shown by a series of dissections and animated diagrams.'[1]

Date: 1944
Duration: 35:--

Director: Mary Field
Production Company: G.B. Instructional
Producer: -
Cinematography: -
Composer: -
Narration: -
Editor: -
Sound Recording: -

Length: 35mm: 3200ft. 16mm: 1280ft.

Distributors: Central Film Library

Notes:

There seem to be a total of four rabbit films from our area of interest: the British Council's 'Life of the Rabbit', and 'Development of the Rabbit', plus G.B. Instructional's 'Wild Rabbits' and 'Rabbits! Rabbits!' - the latter of which was penned by Enid Blyton.
It is thought that the film occasionally referred to as 'The Embryology of the Rabbit' in the National Archive files, is more likely to be 'Development of the Rabbit', rather than 'Life of the Rabbit', given the subject headings in the book, G.B. Instructional Limited - Educational Films Filmstrips and Wall Charts.



Development of the Rabbit
This film shows the simple cell division of the embryo Sea Urchin, describes the simplest species of egg-laying mammals, and proceeds to the embryology of the Rabbit. The development of the embryo in the Rabbit is shown by a series of dissections and animated diagrams.
C.3548
Sound
B/W
30s
BC Film
4 Reels
35 mins
Age 13 upwards[2]



Development of the Rabbit (Great Britain)
Educational Films, Embryology
Distributors: Central Film Library
Producers: British Council
4 reels 1280ft / 35 mins Format: 16mm, Sd and St
UK Rights: Central Office of Information

The scope of the film is broader than the title suggests. As an introduction there is a survey of several types of reproduction and embryonal nutrition, e.g. in sea urchin, trout, frog, hen, platypus and kangaroo. The reproductive organs of the female rabbit are then dissected and described. Actual segmentation of the rabbit’s egg is shown microscopically, there are animated diagrams of foetal membranes, and pregnant uteri are dissected to display the external form of embryos at 10,12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28 and 30 day stages. The mother is shown making a nest and giving birth to the young, and a few final shots illustrate their later growth.

This is a well-designed film serving two purposes. For post-school certificate biology students it is excellent in giving life to the usual academic study of a few selected stages in development. This it achieves by telling the story practically from beginning to end, by the vividness of the many pictures revealing embryos actually in utero, and by the interesting shots showing maternal behaviour. The diagrams showing the origin of foetal membranes are wisely run through twice over, but even so, would only be followed by those already conversant with the facts. The nature of the amniotic cavity and of the umbilical cord (which show in some of the actual specimens) is not made clear in the diagrams. It is also a pity that the nervous system is shown in the same convention as the mesoderm. There are some slight verbal inaccuracies in the commentary, but most of the film is an excellent example of what can be taught by the cinematograph, and it will be appreciated by both pupils and teachers. To other pupils, from age 12 upwards, it will also have a real value provided due preparation is given by the teacher. This is necessary since the terms are technical, some of the shots of dissection not clear, and the foetal membranes would have to be omitted or ignored. The film would leave a correct general impression of the nature of development in utero and would certainly arouse keen interest. The value of the film in any teaching is enhanced by its comparatively slow tempo and lucid commentary: also by its emphasis on the relation between the mode of embryonic development on the one hand, and the structure and habits of the mother on the other. The introductory section (which the rather misleading title renders apparently irrelevant) contributes to the latter purpose. Most of the photography, especially the photomicrography, is good. [3]
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  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1946
  2. ^ Heading: 'Embryology'
    G.B. Instructional Limited - Educational Films Filmstrips and Wall Charts
  3. ^ Appraisal by Natural History Viewing Committee
    Index to Vol. 14 NOS. 157-168 1947
    Films issued between January 31st and February 28th (1947)
    Monthly Film Bulletin of the BFI, p.g 13