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Bomb Girls

Title: Bomb Girls
Directors: Ken Girotti, Adrienne Mitchell and Anne Wheeler
Released: 2012

"Bomb Girls" is a television series in six installments about a group of women working in the Canadian bomb factory Victory Munitions. Canada, a member of the British Commonwealth, is directly involved in World War Two. Consequently many Canadian men have been sent overseas and the country suffers from a huge shortage of male workers. In an attempt to compensate for this shortage, women are being deployed in the war industry all over Canada.

In the conservative Canada of the early 40s, these women are trying every day to hold their own in a world dominated by men. Not only is their daily life a struggle for recognition but these women also face prejudices from their biased male colleagues on the factory floor of the Victory Munitions plant every day. Team leader Loran Corbett, together with the extremely pessimistic manager Harold Akins, is responsible for the daily work of the female team of Victory Munitions. This team further consists of Kate Andrews, the shy daughter of a reverend; Betty McRae, the tough chick of the team; Vera Burr, the proverbial pretty girl and Gladys Witham, a well-to-do young lady.

In the first installment, "Another world" we witness how Gladys fights her daily battle against her well-to-do, snobby parents. Her family makes a fortune out of the war and can only accept grudgingly that Gladys moves among the "common" factory workers every day. Despite this, Gladys Witham is no push over and she holds her own. This however is not the only battle Gladys has to contend with, her female colleagues are also full of prejudices and can hardly accept that rich and well-to-do Gladys wants to become one of them. The strained relations on the factory floor lead to dangerous situations and for Eva Burr even to serious injury.

In the second and third installment, respectively "Explosive developments" and "Who can you trust?", the mutual relationships between men and women at Victory Munitions are at stake. A "faulty" bomb, exploding prematurely during testing, causes much unrest among the factory workers. In the eyes of team leader Loran Corbett, the prime suspect is Marco Moretti, a young Canadian with Italian origins. Although it is to Harold Akins’ advantage to sweep the event under the rug, the factory cannot avoid an investigation into the accident by the army leadership. Personal vendettas and mistrust among the work force lead to betrayal and accusations.

"Bomb Babe" and "Armistice" are the fourth and fifth installments of the series. Canada requests every citizen to participate in the war industry. The country’s leadership calls on anyone able to help to report to the armaments factories. In order to support this plea a propaganda movie is made at Victory Munitions. Initially, the director wants to have Gladys Witham in his movie but in order to create goodwill Gladys refuses the offer and she grants Betty McRae the role in the promotion movie. In hindsight it appears the movie is far removed from reality, something which becomes painfully clear to Betty when the final version of the movie is shown.

The sixth and last installment is entitled "Surprises". The neighboring country, the United States are not directly involved in the war thanks to her policy of neutrality but this changes drastically when Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This leaves the United States no other choice and she is directly involved in the war from then on. American fathers and sons report to the US armed forces in their thousands, something that will dramatically change the lives of the Bomb Girls. Poor or rich, man or woman, no one can now dodge the consequences of the Second World War.

The makers of "Bomb Girls", together with a strong cast, have succeeded in painting an image of how in early 1940 men generally looked down on the women’s world and how these women had to fight for recognition every day. The series is full of strong female personalities that not only hold their own but also dare show their pride about their contribution to the war effort. The TV series is a tribute to the heroines who dared fight for their rights and for the credits they so rightly deserve. As fathers and sons were fighting at the front, these women sacrificed a good part of their lives in the factories to the benefit of that same war. "Bomb Girls" is not a story situated on the battlefield but on the home front which is dominated by women. Therefore this story will probably appeal more to the female viewer than to the male viewer. The makers have wanted to give a face to a group that has become very underexposed after the war and in this they have succeeded very well.

Rating: (Very good)


Translated by:
Arnold Palthe
Article by:
Han Smits
Published on:
Last edit on: