BW 4/34 – Plastic Surgery
[SC – 21/06/11]


- 21/01/43 – H. Bruce Woolfe, G.B. Instructional to A.F. Primrose, Esq. OBE., British Council
“Miss Borer attended at the Ministry of Health as per your instructions and has been told to visit four different areas in the South of England during the next week in order to collect material for the Plastic Surgery film. I presume it is in order for her to incur expenditure, which I suggest should be entered as a cost of production, so as not to disturb the arrangements re writing the script, which will be at the usual rate according to the number of reels.”

- 08/02/43 – GBI to Mr Bundy - “Will let us have Plastic Surgery in a day or two.”

- 12/02/43 – Mary Borer to Bundy – Delivers first draft of script. [missing]

- 15/02/43 – Woolfe to Bundy
“Dear Bundy, I have been through the PLASTIC SURGERY script and have also noted the alterations to THORACIC SURGERY since the first draft script. I should like to point out that, in my opinion, these subjects are rapidly becoming more technical and less understandable by the ordinary person. I understand from Miss Borer that it is intended that these medical films shall be sown only to a medical audience. If so, this tendency is probably correct, but I thought I would point out to you that I consider these films are now only suitable for this purpose, especially PLASTIC SURGERY.”

- 22/04/43 – Request for 35mm copy of Plastic Surgery for use by BC Cairo Office.

- Notes by Sir Harold Gillies on material for Plastic Surgery. At this point it seems to be one film, covering four aspects.
[photo]

- 12/01/43 – Medical Films Sub-Committee Meeting minutes.
Present: (Chair) Surgeon Rear-Admiral G. Gordon-Taylor; Professor J. Beattie; Dr F.H.K. Green; Professor G. Grey Turner.
In Attendance: The Rt. Hon. Lord Amulree; Dr R. Castro O'Connor; Sir Harold Gillies; Miss M. Borer (GBI); Mr A.F. Bundy; Mr M.N. Kearney; Mr A.F. Primrose (all Film Dept); Dr N. Howard Jones (Secretary).
Apologies for Absence: Dr. H.A. Clegg
Plastic Surgery Film. It was AGREED that the film should not be presented as the personal story of an individual patient but that an attempt would be made to sketch in outline the general principles of plastic surgery and their application in specimen cases. At the same time the composition and general layout of a plastic surgery Unit should be indicated, with emphasis on the co-operation of specialists and technicians in various fields. For this subject, Technicolor would be virtually essential.”

- 27/10/43 – Script for Plastic Surgery paid, costing £64.7.4.

- 22/10/43 – Howard Jones, Medical Dept BC to Mr Pomfret Kilner (of 29 Stormont Rd, Highgate)
Plastic Surgery has been in 'cold storage' for some months, the initial draft being unsatisfactory. In the 'chest surgery film' (assume Surgery in Chest Disease) “a professional actor played the part of the typical patient who gives continuity to the film, the real patient being substituted during operative procedure.
In 'Accident Service', a film nearly completed, miners who had actually had broken backs and other injuries, re-lived the parts they had played in real life, the necessary substitutions being made for operating sequences.”

- 18/01/44 – Woolfe to Kearney. Problems afoot. [photo]

- 14/07/44 – There will apparently be no more work on Plastic Surgery until September.

- 01/08/44 – Debate over Dr Ackroyd's fee for working on the script. [photos]

- 28/08/44 – Issues with being in the right place at the right time to film the desired sequences. A query is raised about the potentially dangerous use of Arc Lights by Technicolor in a 'volatile' operating theatre containing flammable elements.

- 04/09/44 - Issues with Technicolor, who have apparently lost a main technician. “... it does appear as if the film will have to be indefinitely postponed.”

- 16/10/44 – Donald Carter, General Manager GBI, to Primrose.
“In order to facilitate production if and when it materializes [sic], our cameraman-director, Frank North, has had a consultation with Dr Ackroyd.
As a result of these conversations, Mr North has suggested to me in view of the several difficulties of obtaining a Technicolor Unit, lighting with Arc Lights due to the presence of anaesthetics, and also the difficulties arising out of the size of the camera, it might be worth while to investigate the possibilities of shooting this film entirely on 16mm. Kodachrome, and get Messrs Technicolor to enlarge this for they are do so successfully with certain American films for the American War Department.
If this method were employed, it would be possible for me to earmark Mr North for this film as soon as he has completed his present commitments.”

- 17/10/44 – Primrose to Carter (GBI)
“I have discussed the possibility of producing 'Plastic Surgery' in Kodachrome with Mr Bush [Technicolor] who is not very hopeful that it can be arranged. In the meantime I am anxiously awaiting news of the release from the RAF of Technicolor's technician which is expected any minute now.
I have asked Mr Bush to enquire into the use of open arc lamps in an operating theatre.”

- 05/12/44 – K Harrison, MD at Technicolor to BC Film dept
“Owing to out inability to obtain the services of an experienced Technician, we regret that we will be unable to undertake the PLASTIC SURGERY subject in three-strip Technicolor.
In view of the importance of the subject, however, we have cabled to the Technicolor Company in Hollywood seeking their permission to use 16-mm. Kodachrome with the object of blowing this up to 35-mm. Technicolor. If the Technicolor Company in Hollywood agrees with our suggestion, we shall communicate with you accordingly. We believe that this method would overcome the photographic problem, as we would not need a Technicolor Technician for this work.
The success of 16-mm. Kodachrome blown up to 35-mm. Technicolor is largely dependant upon the skill of the cameraman, and this is even more important in your particular subject. To obtain satisfactory results, bearing in mind the limitations that such a method would impose, we strongly recommend that you obtain the services of Mr. Cyril Knowles, if he is available.”

- 07/12/44 – [As above]
“We have now received a cable from Hollywood informing us that they are so heavily committed to essential work required by the United States Government that they would be unable to take on any additional commitments of this nature. They have, however, agreed that we should obtain the necessary equipment which would enable us to undertake all of the work over here. This suggestion we desire to adopt immediately not only because of the possibility of solving your problem on the 'PLASTIC SURGERY' picture, but also because with this special equipment in operation over here we could also supply you with a 16-mm. service for blowing up to 35-mm. Technicolor which might also solve many of your present and future problems.
We propose to seek a permit and obtain the necessary priorities from the Ministry of Supply to allow us to obtain the printer equipment for this purpose, and we ask that you will support us in our application. Will you please advise us by letter whether such support will be forthcoming, and if your reply is in the affirmative, we will immediately file our application with the object of having this equipment installed in our Laboratory at the earliest possible moment. Yours vey truly, Technicolor Limited.”

- 15/12/44 – Bundy to Kearney (internal, handwritten)
“Anxious as I am to put 'Plastic Surgery' into production, I have doubts as to the advantages of assisting Technicolor in this matter. Despite the fact that we have helped them in many ways they still show us no consideration at all. K.H.'s proposal looks fine on paper but I have no reason to suppose that he would carry them out.” [Kearney's reply wholly illegible due to poor handwriting. Photo anyway]

- Feb 45 – Parties are unable to find the desired procedures being executed in the UK, so discuss sending a small unit to Brussels to film procedures there!

- Contract between BC & GBI [photos]

- Cameraman-director listed as Tristram Bagot Stack, of 42 Hornsey Lane Gardens. Is mainly director. Cyril Price too ill to fill role.

- As an aside, there are letters asking various officials (Division Petroleum Officer) to allow extra petrol for Dr Ackroyd and lamps (there's an official in charge of lamps at the Ministry of Supply!) for GBI.

- 27/04/45 – Brussels proves too complicated, so opt for locations at Park Prewitt and St Albans.

- 09/10/45 – Ackroyd wants more money again.

- 10/10/45 – R.E. Tritton writes to Scoble at GBI introducing self as new director of the BC film department. [I believe that Neville Kearney died mid-1945]. He also says “Dr Ackroyd came to see me yesterday on the subject of his fee for the work he is doing on the Plastic Surgery film. There seems to have been a great deal of somewhat acid correspondence about this, and the situation is not a very happy one. I should be very grateful if you would look in here one day in the not distant future and have a talk on this subject.”

- 13/10/45 & 16/10/45 – Ackroyd to Tritton, Howard Jones to Tritton – Amusing pair of letters, ending with Howard calling Ackroyd 'indiscreet and unreliable'. [photos]

- 15/10/45 – Ackroyd is getting through petrol like it's going out of fashion.

- 31/10/45 – At some point, Scoble has become director of this farce production.

- 02/02/46 – Mention of 'Pneumothorax' and 'Plastic Surgery' being completed by Mid-March [1946].

- 11/02/46 – 'Very long' rough cut of Plastic Surgery shown at BC Theatre.

- 11/02/46 – Carter at GBI authorised by W.A. Ferguson (BC) to edit film to five reels.

- 21/02/46 – BC requests film be finished for a screening at the American Medical Association Annual Convention in San Francisco by 15th April. GBI replies they will do their best.

- 27/02/46 – A.C. Izod to Carter (GBI), introducing self and asking for completion dates on all titles in production with GBI; Steam Engine, Steam Turbine, Electro-Magnetic Induction (parts 1 & 2); Plastic Surgery; Artificial Pneumothorax; Indian Ocean.

- 22/03/46 – GBI reports that has managed to cut the 13.5 reels shown at the rough cut down to only 8 reels, but doesn't feel that 5 reels will be workable covering all the topics. Recommends breaking down into two films. Dr Howard Jones replies that this is rubbish.