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Ration Books and Rabbit Pies: Films from the Home Front on DVD in January

8 December 2015

The BFI’s first DVD release of 2016 will be Ration Books and Rabbit Pies: Films from the Home Front. This fascinating collection of public information films, propaganda shorts and adverts from the Second World War give essential advice to a nation living in an age of austerity. There are handy hints and tips on rationing, staying healthy, growing vegetables, cooking and salvaging.

This fascinating DVD collection brings together a selection of public information films, propaganda shorts and adverts from the Second World War, drawn from the BFI National Archive, and contains films that give essential advice to a nation living in an age of austerity. Amongst the handy hints and tips, we learn how to support the war effort from home by rationing, staying healthy, growing vegetables, cooking and salvaging.

Highlights of the collection include Tea Making Tips (1941), with ‘the six golden tips’ for making the perfect cuppa; director/artist/animator Len Lye’s When the Pie Was Opened (1941); Did You Ever See a Dream Talking (1943) starring ‘silly ass’ comedian Claude Hulbert playing a Home Guard volunteer; Wisdom of the Wild (1940), a wartime twist on the long-running Secrets of Life natural history series; the Wicked Witch (1943), an advert for Rinso and A-Tish-oo! (1941), an instructional film on how to make a face-mask.

The release of Ration Books and Rabbit Pies accompanies the season Blitz Flicks running at BFI Southbank throughout January 2016. Each weekend, audiences have the chance to experience a matinee programme, 1940s-style, with all features playing with a supporting programme of propaganda shorts, just as they would have been shown at the time.

Ration Books and Rabbit Pies: Films from the Home Front will be released on UK DVD on 18th January 2016 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.

The films:

Cookery Tips
Cookery Hints: Oatmeal Porridge (1940) 6 mins
When the Pie Was Opened (1941) 8 mins
Mrs T and Her Cabbage Patch (1941) 12 mins
Two Cooks and a Cabbage (1941) 6 mins
Tea Making Tips (1941) 10 mins
Food Flashes: Milk, Fish and Potatoes (1942-1944)

Save Your Shillings and Smile
Did You Ever See a Dream Talking (1943) 6 mins
Keep Them Safe Keep Them Happy (1939) 2 mins
Bob In the Pound (1943) 2 mins
Save Your Shillings and Smile (1943) 7 mins
Get Cracking (1944) 1 min
Food Flash: Bread and Dough (1942-1944)

Make Do and Mend
Salvage With a Smile (1940) 6 mins
Wisdom of the Wild (1940) 13 mins
Sabotage! (1942) 2 mins
Mrs Mopp Entertains (1943) 2 mins
The Wicked Witch (1943) 2 mins
Dustbin Parade (1942) 6 mins
Little Annie's Rag Book (1942) 2 mins
Little Miss Muddlehead (1943) 2 mins
Food Flash: Ration Books (1942-1944)

Fighting Fit
Fitness Wins: 4 and 20 Fit Girls (1940) 11 mins
A-Tish-Oo! (1941) 6 mins
ABCD of Health (1942) 9 mins
Round Figures (1944) 9 mins
Food Flashes: Eggs, Cocoa and Cod Liver Oil (1942-1944)

Dig For Victory
The Backyard Front (1940) 16 mins
Bampton Shows the Way (1941) 6 mins
Food Flashes: Canteens and Rats (1942-1944)