The Life Cycle of the Maize

Still from 'The Life Cycle of Maize' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1947-50'
'A biological study of maize, the universal corn. The camera speeds up its growth from seed to harvest. A magnified section of the leaf surface shows the stomata in action in fine and wet weather; the mechanism of germination is described; experiments show which mineral salts are needed in the soil.' [1]

Date: 1942
Duration: 09:29

Director: Mary Field
Production Company: G.B. Instructional
Producer: -
Cinematographer: F. Percy Smith
Composer: N/A
Narration: -
Editor: -
Sound Recording: -
Advisor: M. Munro

Length: 13mm:937ft. 16mm: 366ft.

Still from 'The Life Cycle of Maize' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1946'
Life Cycle of Maize (Great Britain, 1942)
Educational Films, Botany
Distributors: Central Film Library
Producers: Produced for the British Council by G.B. Instructional
1 reel 373ft / 10mins Format: 16mm, Sd
UK Rights: Central Office of Information

The film begins with a distribution map of maize, then an enlarged cob is shown. The germination of a single seed in the soil, development of the radicle, root-hairs, side and strut roots and pumule are shown by accelerated photogra
phy. The growth of the shoot and the sources of the food materials are given. A set of water cultures in jars shows necessary minerals. When the plant is fully developed and supported by a succession of strutt roots, the flowers appear, the male in long tassels at the top of the plant, and the females with their “silks” below. Clouds of pollen are shown falling from the anthers on to the stigmas, and one grain is seen producing a pollen-tube and diagrams show the sperm nucleus carried to the egg-cell in the ovule. The film ends with an account of the main harvest, one of the most important in the world.

This is a very pleasant film, realistic, full of information and on the whole accurate. There are a few slips; the statement that the leaves take in air and give out gases is not satisfactory, and the terms ovule and egg-cell are confused. The shot of the stomata is poor. A time scale for development, especially of the roots, is needed. It is, however, an A film suitable for children of age 13 and upwards and will be enjoyed by anyone with some knowledge of botany. *
* Appraisal by the Natural History Viewing Committee [2]
  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1942-43
  2. ^ Index to Vol. 14 NOS. 157-168 1947
    Films issued between March 31st and May 31st (1947) pg 43
    Monthly Film Bulletin of the BFI