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St. Paul's Cathedral

About the film

A stately exploration of the history of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, with a focus on the architecture and individuals buried there, and the impact of the Blitz.

Details

Release year
1942
Director
James E. Rogers
Production company
Merton Park
Cinematographer
James E. Rogers
Narration
Robert Speaight
Editor
V. Sagovsky
Sound recording
Al Rhind
Running time (minutes)
14 mins 31 secs
Assistant Director
Arline Rogers

Original Description

Britain’s National Shrine
‘A picture of St. Paul’s Cathedral, past and present. Old St. Paul’s; St. Paul’s rebuilt by Wren; St. Paul’s the shrine of an Empire’s heroes–– Nelson, Wellington, Roberts, Kitchener, Jellicoe, Beatty.
The film shows recent historic occasions, and the great Dome riding high above the blitz of 1940. It ends with a thanksgiving service on the steps of the bomb-scarred Cathedral.’
(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1942-43)

Trivia

  • St Paul’s Cathedral was approved for distribution in January 1943, but only if a shot showing a poster of Lord Kitchener was removed. Despite this, this version of the film still shows the poster at 07:36.
  • St Paul's Cathedral heavily features the events of 29th December 1940, known as the 'Second Great Fire of London' - one of the most destructive air raids of the London Blitz. The event saw a firestorm sweeping towards St Paul's Cathedral, and then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered that the cathedral must be saved, and great effort was thus made to (successfully) save the building.
  • Though extremely different in tone and made by different production teams, St Paul's Cathedral bears a number of stylistic similarities to A Message From Canterbury. For example, both films open and close with shots of rooftop Christian crosses, both utilise cathedral choirs for the soundtrack, both relay the repeated destruction of their respective cathedrals, and both feature a similarly-styled re-enactment of an air raid.