Diaries

Source: Diary entry for 30 March 1939, in George Orwell (ed. Peter Davison), Diaries (New York/London: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2009), p. 150

Text: Ship gives out a cyclostyled sheet of news every day. Movies occasionally (have not seen them yet).

In Casablanca went to the pictures, & saw films making it virtually certain that the Fench Gov.t expects war. The first a film on the life of a soldier, following up all the different branches & with some very good shots of the inner arrangements of the Maginot line. This film had evidently been hurriedly constructed & went into much greater detail than is normal in films of this kind. The other was the Pathé news gazette, in which the announcer gave what was practically a political speech denouncing Germany. Then more shots of British & French troops etc. The significant point was the attitude of the audience – utterly unenthusiastic, hardly a clap, & a few hostile comments.

Comments: George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair (1903-1950), British novelist and essayist. He kept intermittent diaries from 1931 to 1949. Orwell and his wife lived in Morocco for six months from September 1938 in the hope that the climate would be good for his health. This diary entry was written while at sea on his return to Britain. He had left Casablanca on 26 March 1939. Orwell seldom mentions cinemagoing in his writings, but occasional references such as the above indicate that he saw films not infrequently.

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