Wednesday, August 08, 2012

William Temple Speaks

Message from Canterbury (1944) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

 William Temple preaches a sermon in a propaganda film. I found this linked on a few other websites, and most people in comments are saying that Temple does not sound like they expected. I think he sounds exactly like an Anglican from that period of the Radio age. One has to keep in mind that the touchy-feely "method acting" public speaking methods had not come into existence yet. If you listen to most formal radio broadcasts (or movies for that matter) from the period, particularly from Britain, you will hear deliveries and accents of this nature.

Sadly, most broadcasts from that period other than certain clips from Churchill or other pieces deemed of "historical interest" were largely erased. This is also true of most of CS Lewis' radio broadcasts and even several of the King's speeches. The BBC had a policy of taping over reel to reel transcriptions and disposing of materials that they thought had no particular "rerun" value, as we would call it today. To be fair, this was partly because transcription materials and storage space in post-WWII Britain were extremely hard to come by.

I always thought it was one of the tragedies of the 20th Century that William Temple died only 2 years into his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury. He could have done so much to reshape the political landscape of Britain after the World War II. You can hear that in his political theory in this short sermon.

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