Royal Review

BW4/9: H.M. The King
(Notes from document held in National Archives)

· An archive was set up in November 1953 with the following Terms of Reference:
iii). To destroy all documents who=se retention is not in the Council’s interest.

· 15th November 1940
To L.B. Sabben-Clare Esq., The Colonel Office, London SW1
From aci/nu
Extracts from two letters from the Director of Education and Information, Gambia
5/9/40 reported that there had been a number of shows/screenings organised for the natives. A great success. The King and The Nayy were the most popular of the eight films that they had been sent. All of great interest. Popular and has helped their local spitfire fund considerably.
7/10/40 films have been met with great appreciation as few natives have before seen any films. Most popular – Royal Review, The Navy, London, An English Village, Postal Special. Big demand for war photos – it was the parts that showed the troops, ships and planes that brought most applause.

· Story based on the film Royal Review – photographed

· Write up / info on the film Royal Review. Commentary and Film Index – photographed

· Letter from Film Department, 25 Saville Row, W1, Mr A.F. Primrose

To Mr G. T. Cummins, British Paramount News, School Road
About the film His Majesty the King – Primrose’s Committee to have the overseas distribution rights, both theatrical and non-theatrical but not to use any of the material from the film in any other film without Cummins’ permissions – photographed

· Film is referred to as The King, His Majesty The King, Royal Review, The King as Father of His People and there is also a long list of suggested titles for the film sent to Mr Mellor (British Paramount News, School Road) from ACI/YS on 8th November 1939 – photographed

· To Mr Primrose From VTH/DL (Vincent Harlow Signed)
3rd November 1939
Problems concerning lack of footage depicting the King in social situations/doing his job – wanting footage of King inspecting factories or preferably armament works – but most importantly it must show the King as the father and leader of his people or “it will miss the mark and it would be a waste of public money to have large numbers of duplicates made for exhibition before colonial audiences.

· Request for the film from India
Letter from Primrose to Professor Harlow (Empire Publicity Division, Ministry of Information, Institute of Education, Malet Street)

· A lady called Miss Wrong (Empire Publicity Division) is mentioned several times and is said to have suggested alterations/improvements to the film.

· A man called Mr Sellers is mentioned. Also called Sellars

· Letter from OB/EW to Primrose 19th October 1939.
“There seems to have been a great lack of coordination between Sellars, Miss. Wrong and Paramount if, after all their labours, they find so much in the film to criticise.” But their concerns are to do with West Africa, which is a very limited audience. “I would also take up with Paramount that, despite all of the annoyances to which they have been subjected, £250 is all they are going to xharge, because I do not want to give them an extra £250 for ‘ARF A MO’ ‘ITLER if we are not saving it in another direction.”

· “Some of the shots, particularly that of the Royal Family on the balcony, are so poor that they will have to be eliminated. The procession in Westminster Abbey also falls into this category.”
From Primrose to Wrong 17th October 1939

· “Visit to church – more of the King – less of horses.”
Also instructed to cut down film to about 400ft (35 mm) and use 16 mm library version of Coronation and Trooping the Colour to provide the ceremonial aspect.

· Letter from Primrose to Oliver Bell (Ministry of Information, London University Building, Malet Street) 18th October 1939.
“This film of the King will be most useful to the Joint Committee for use in India and the Dominions and Colonies, quite apart from its use for showing to native audiences in Africa”.
Film at this point was 1500ft long

· Letter from Primrose to Mrs Thring (Empire Publicity Division)
13th October 1939
Refers to the fact that the film was silent

· Letter from Primrose to Harlow – 4th October 1939
The King asFather of His People – “..the Joint Committee on Films has commissioned British Paramount News, and it is now ready”.

· Letter from Primrose to Saveall (Universal Talking News, 90, Wardour Street) 27th September 1939
Film was made for the Colonial Office for showing to natives in Africa. “The Colonial Office is anxious to include shots of the following people, when they were in England:
Emir of Katsina & Sons Nigeria
Alake of Abeckuta Nigeria
Sultan of Zanzibar
Also the King shaking hands with a West Indian cricket team.

Another letter with the same content from Primrose to Mr Behr (Pathé Gazette, 111 Wardour Street) 27th September 1939

Another again from Primrose to Mr Howard (Gaumont Britain News, Film House, Wardour Street) 27th September 1939

· Letter from Primrose to Kearney (The Newsreel Association of Great Britain and Ireland, 21 Tothill Street, SW1) 31st August 1939
Prior to the film being made but was only a suggestion Primrose wrote: “This film is urgently wanted for despatch to Colonial Governments for publicity purposes among their people in the event of war”.

“While a 35mm sound version of this film is required, the immediate need is for a silent version which could be reduced to 16mm.”

“What we have in mind is a film that would stress three aspects: ­–
1) The King in Royal Estate. E.g. inspecting troops, opening Parliament, etc.
2) The King as Father of his people. E.g. visiting hospitals, etc.
3) Home life of the Royal Family. E.g. shots of the King and Queen and the Princesses, with Buckingham Palaceband Windsor Castle as backgrounds.

Another letter outlining the same information from Harlow (38, Belgrave Square, SW1) to Primrose (Joint Committee for Films, Travel and Industrial Assocation, 25, Saville Row, W) 30th August 1939.
Also states:
“In order that the compilation of the film – provided that your committee were to agree to undertake it – should be accurately adjusted to the mentality and outlook of the Colonial peoples, it was suggested that Mr Gammens (formerly of the Malayan service) and Mr Sellers (of the Nigerian service) should be called upon during the preparation of the film to act as consultants”.