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They Came To A City (Dual Format Edition)


Newly restored version for this Ealing rarity

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A rarely seen classic of British cinema, Ealing Studios’ They Came to a City was directed by Basil Dearden (The Captive Heart, Victim) and stars John Clements, Googie Withers and Raymond Huntley.

A fantastical allegory from the pen of J B Priestley, this most unusual of Ealing’s features has long been hard to see. Now available home on Blu-ray/DVD in a Dual Format Edition, in a new 2K transfer from the best surviving 35mm element. Special features include complementary films preserved in the BFI National Archive and an audio NFT Lecture by producer Michael Balcon from 1969.

Nine disparate Britons are transported to a mysterious city where, according to their class and disposition, they find themselves either in an earthly paradise of peace and equality or a hell starved of ambition and riches. This fantastical allegory is a striking expression of post-war utopian impulses and among Ealing’s most unusual features.

  • Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Michael Balcon NFT Lecture (audio only, 59 mins): recorded in 1969, the producer discusses the different stages of his career
  • We Live in Two Worlds (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1937, 13 mins): a GPO film about communications technology, narrated by J B Priestley
  • Britain at Bay (Harry Watt, 1940, 7 mins): a wartime propaganda film intended to boost morale, narrated by J B Priestley
  • A City Reborn (1945, 21 mins): a propaganda film written by Dylan Thomas highlighting plans for post-war reconstruction
  • Charley in New Town (Halas & Batchelor, 1948, 8 mins): a short animation on post-war new towns built to address housing shortages
  • Your Very Good Health (Halas & Batchelor, 1948, 9 mins): a short animation on the new National Health Service
  • Illustrated booklet with essays by Dr Josephine Botting, Tim O'Sullivan, Katy McGahan, Jenny Stewart and Alan Burton, and full film credits
Additional Information
More Information
SKU 5035673013106
Catalogue Number BFIB1310
Subtitle Direcetd by Basil Dearden
Product contents DVD, Blu-ray
Year 1944
Director Basil Dearden
Format DVD, Blu-Ray
Publisher(s) BFI
Countries UK
Aspect ratio original aspect ratio 1.37:1
Colour Black & White
Sound PCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/24-bit)
Subtitles English Hard of Hearing
Language(s) English
Running time 78 min
DVD region 2
Blu-ray region B
Certificate U
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