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The third volume in the COI Collection, They Stand Ready, looks at Britain's armed forces. To help paint a positive picture of life in the Services the COI produced morale-boosting documentaries, propaganda items and numerous recruitment films, which placed emphasis on escaping the humdrum of daily life. Join the Services, we are told, and a world of opportunity awaits you.

Highlights include: Victory Parade (1946), in which troops from all over the British Empire arrive in London to celebrate victory over the Nazis; They Stand Ready (1955), a look at the vital role of national service; Suez in Perspective (1957), where the Suez Crisis is given a positive spin; Routine Adventure (1965), about the RAF's role in Aden; When You Wake Up (1974), a recruitment film for schoolgirls which attempts to lure them into the Women's Royal Army Corp (WRAC); HMS Sheffield (1976) and Tornado (1985), big boys' toys on the high seas and in the skies.

Excerpt of review from BFI located HERE

DVD Reviews

DVD Review: BFI (The COI Collection: Volume 3) - Region 0 - PAL

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Region 0 - PAL


1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Egypt Today (12:03)

DVD Release Date: July 19th, 2010



"They Stand Ready", the third edition of the BFI's COI [Central Office of Intelligence] Collection, gives us a rousing look into the propaganda films of the nation's military and civil defense. The films in this anthology begins by chronicling the nation's victory over the Axis in World War II and extends up through the mid 80s recruitment commercials--where joining the military was as easy as filling out the "coupon" in the Sunday paper and sending it in--and a look at the airplane, the Tornado. Unlike, say, some of the more surreal shorts from the series's previous entry, "Design for Today", the films in this set are for the most part somber and straightforward celebrations of British might. Two of the more notable exceptions, however, are on the second disc, where the camera takes up the topic of women in military supporting roles. In both shorts the directors make some questionable assumptions about gender roles in the military (as the booklet notes, showing women learning how to batter cakes and operate switchboards). Like some of the best films found in the BFI's vault, these still come off as silly fun. But, the really value in this set comes from the historical importance of the materials, giving the government's version of events during times like the Suez Crisis. As such its an invaluable tool for anyone interested in Postwar Britain.


As expected, the materials used here vary in quality. Although all were given new HD transfers, the older films in the collection still have a good deal of damage. That being said, there are some truly nicely preserved and good looking shorts especially on the second disc in gorgeous black and white. The audio is similarly variable, with most films sounding crystal clear, but some of the older ones have minor pops or hisses.

There are only two extras in the package. First, there's an Egyptian propaganda short giving their perspective of the Suez crisis, entitled "Egypt Today: The Anglo-French Aggression Against Egypt". Second, there's an invaluable illustrated booklet detailing each and every film in the collection and a brief essay on the COI.

For anyone interested in British history, this set is a must own. It's another wonderful entry into their recent run on British anthology shorts. Definitely recommended.

  - Brian Montgomery


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