Mr. Marsh Comes to School (1961)

Careers advice for schoolchildren is delivered with imagination and wit by director John Krish in this very effective sponsored documentary.

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Made to introduce employment advice for school–leavers, Mr Marsh Comes to School is a striking example of what a talented documentary filmmaker can achieve with an unpromising brief. Thinking of his audience, Krish turned a potentially dreary subject into a quirky delight. The result was that the film continued to be shown in classrooms for years after it was produced, to 14– and 15–year olds contemplating life after school.

The film encourages them to the use the Youth Employment Service but, deeper than that, to look inside themselves. Before they can decide what they want to do with their lives, they need to decide who and what they are. This message is put across using a mixture of actors and real schoolchildren performing a script about a careers officer with magical powers. The filmmakers in turn conjure an enjoyable experience for their viewers using the magic of film – including jump–cuts and reverse action.

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