The Milky Way UK (1948)
|The Milky Way UK|
|Title||The Milky Way UK|
|Year of production||1948|
|Country of production||Royaume-Uni|
|Format||Parlant - Noir et blanc - 16 mm|
|Production companies||Wallace Productions Limited|
|Commissioning body||United Dairies Limited|
|Archive holder(s)||Wellcome Collection|
- 1 Main credits
- 2 Content
- 3 Broadcasting and reception
- 4 Description
- 5 Contributors
The Milky Way was produced in 1948. It was estimated that 31 gallons of liquid milk per head were consumed on average by every individual in Great Britian in 1949 and that approximately 5 % of the total population of the country was supported by the dairy industry. At this time, notable discourse came on one hand from many acting against processing of milk, such as Lady Eve Balfour, author of the seminal volume on organic farming and the organic movement, The Living Soil (Faber & Faber, 1943 - its eighth edition published in 1948) who was particularly critical of pasteurisation. On the other, the medical bodies that pasteurisation increased in the 1940s, such as the Medical Research Council and Sir Graham Selby Wilson, bacteriologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, author of the landmark volume The Pasteurisation of Milk (Arnold, 1942) who developed the phosphatase test and promoted the merits of pasteurisation. The film notably features an animation to explain the HTST (High temperature short time) pasteurisation method introduced to Britain in the 1940s, a more efficient method than those used in the 1920s and 1930s. Pasteurization was debated in Britain from 1900 to 1945. Anti-pasteurisation activists were notably sceptical of modern technology adamantly opposed pasteurisation, as well as the use of fertilisers, chemicals and mechanised cultivation which would degrade soil fertility, while the medical sphere supported pasteurisation as a means to fight non-pulmonary tuberculosis (by ending the transmission of bovine tuberculosis) and the dairy industry saw pasteurisation as a means to extend the shelf-life of milk. In 1942, the Ministry of Agriculture implemented the National Milk Testing and Advisory Scheme. And after 1945, pasteurisation became increasingly common. (It became compulsory in Scotland in 1983, but never in England or Wales.) The film comes as a clear argument for pasteurisation with Mrs Harris representing the British population that was sceptical of modern technology and perceived a threat in unnatural or processed foods. The film demonstrates that this view to be rife with erroneous beliefs, and Mrs Harris is, like the spectator, enlightened by the film. The film argues modern (good) versus traditional (poor) practices. This however, does not directly address the ongoing argument for organic and natural food, which remained a strong movement in Britain.United Dairies, formed upon the merging of a few smaller dairies in 1915, and based out of Wiltshire was one of the largest dairies in the United Kingdom by the 1950s; They acted for the sale of pasteurised milk from the 1920s. The company was also a large user of milk trains (like its competitor Express Milk) to transport milk to London.
Structuring elements of the film
- Reporting footage : No.
- Set footage : No.
- Archival footage : No.
- Animated sequences : No.
- Intertitles : No.
- Host : No.
- Voice-over : Yes.
- Interview : No.
- Music and sound effects : Yes.
- Images featured in other films : No.
How does the film direct the viewer’s attention?
The film is framed by the milk delivery service. The film opens with the milkman arriving at Mrs Harris doorstep, her scepticism of scientific and hygienic processing of milk opens the theme of the film. And between each informational scene or clip, the camera returns to Mrs Harris and her scepticism.There are three voices that narrate the film. One takes the spectator through the production of milk and the other details more scientific processes, and the third is that of the milk man who opens the film and near the end of the film explains the consumer’s role.
How are health and medicine portrayed?
Broadcasting and reception
Where is the film screened?
Presentations and events associated with the film
Local, national, or international audience
References and external documents