Fires Were Started


Drama / War

IMDb Rating 6.6 10 828


Downloaded 5,656 times
July 22, 2019


720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
603.86 MB
23.976 fps
63 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.16 GB
23.976 fps
63 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MrGeorgeKaplan 8 / 10 / 10

Not the film I was expecting - but superbly made

I'd been trying to track this movie down for a while so I had high expectations of it, and on some counts it disappointed and on others it actually excelled. I was expecting a propaganda film with a plummy BBC voice-over intoning: 'Here we see the lads of Heavy Unit one, sector c 14, enjoying a pint of bitter and a sing song before their shift.' Instead, I was presented with a proper film with characters and a plot and everything! This struck me as particularly extraordinary having seen the first film on the DVD which was a motley collection of clips of Britain at work for the War Effort, inter-spliced with a lunchtime concert (blitz spirit etc.) featuring Myra Hess wearing what looked like a lab-coat playing piano rather animatedly. To make a film with such high production values in wartime, with everything seriously rationed is quite extraordinary. Okay, it portrays the firemen as heroes, but it presents them in a light that is far from uplifting. They are men who work tirelessly and they take great risks, and then they go and do it all over again the next night – none of this wandering off into the sunset with a girl on your arm. By 1943, when the film was made, the blitz was pretty much over, but the horror and uncertainty of the V1s and V2s was yet to come and although the tide seemed to have turned, there was no end in sight at this point. Jennings' stroke of genius was to create a film that identified with its audience and was honest with them, while actually having the humour to keep morale up. The use of actual firemen for the characters has its pros and cons – some of them are decent actors, others are very poor, but I should imagine that in 1943 people in possession of an equity card were rather few and far between. There is obviously some stock footage used in the long shots of the burning warehouses, giving a broader picture of what the crew of one pump were up against, which is no bad thing. The stock footage is actually pretty important as it gives a reality that would otherwise be lacking (see also Malta Story). All in all this is a triumph of realistic, humanist film-making from the darkest days of our darkest hours.

Reviewed by Boba_Fett1138 8 / 10 / 10

A documentary made as a movie or a movie made as a documentary?

Seems strange that this movie is being listed as a documentary, fore this movie is made as a real movie, with scripted dialog and situations. Nevertheless it still can be seen as a docudrama, which concentrates on the London civilian fire brigade during the bombings of WW II. The movie gives a real insightful look in this little unknown piece of history. It shows under what circumstances the men and women involved with the fire brigades had to work. It shows the whole organization behind it all and how things got communicated. It of course also shows how the actual fires were being fought by the brave men. Just like most British young men were fighting elsewhere in Europe, these men fought they own wars against the fires in the big cities. What surprised me was that this movie was not a typical British war time propaganda piece. This is a bit odd, since the production company Crown Film Unit, was a movie-making propaganda arm of the Ministry of Information at its time. It doesn't try to glorify anything and just show things as they are. The movie also doesn't have an annoying all knowing voice-over, who comments and the 'brave' actions and all. The movie is actually pretty straightforward and raw shot. Although everything in this movie is being scripted it still feels all very real. It's a true engaging- and therefore also really powerful and effective movie. Yes, it's truly being shot as a movie. I was actually quite impressed by some of its camera-work and editing at times, which seemed to be decades ahead of its time in certain sequences! Not that I have ever seen anything else by Humphrey Jennings but I'm definitely interested now to see more by him. Unfortunately he died very young in 1950, when he fell of a cliff while he was scouting for locations in Greece for his new movie. Still a total of 33 directed movies are behind his name, so more than enough stuff to still check out! A real unique classic within its genre! 9/10

Reviewed by l_rawjalaurence 8 / 10 / 10

Remarkable Piece of Social History

Produced to celebrate the work of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS), FIRES WERE STARTED is a drama-documentary recounting a day in the life of those men charged with the responsibility of dousing fires during the Blitz of 1940-41 in London's Docklands. None of the actors are professional; they have been encouraged to play the roles of 'ordinary' people. As a result some of the performances are better than others. What renders the film truly remarkable is the fact that it was produced under very difficult conditions with high production values: the re- enactments of the nighttime air raids are convincing, with staged scenes intercut with actual footage. Produced as a propaganda piece to celebrate the virtues of community, of people pulling together at a time of great stress, FIRES WERE STARTED shows the difficulties experienced by Londoners at that time; not only during but after the nightly raids; how the city picked itself up and continued working, even after the heaviest bombing. The actors manage to create a spirit of community - not only through working but also singing, eating and drinking together. The film is an invaluable record of life during the Second World War: should be required viewing for any social historians interested in the period.

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