A Cruel Kindness (1968)

Watch on Wellcome Library

Institution: Wellcome Library
Collection: Moving Image and Sound Collection

Running time: 13m 4s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1968
Director: Winifred Holmes
Production: Verity Films; Oswalk Skilbeck; Film Producers Guild; Film Centre International Ltd; British Life Assurance Trust for Health Education; British Medical Association
Writer: Winifred Holmes
Photography: Jonah Jones
Editor: Anthony Ham


Nutritional guides have been prone to wild fluctuations and rearrangements over the past several decades, vary sharply by country, and have been influenced by everything from scientific studies and wartime rationing to the agriculture industry and food prices. Thank goodness for 1968’s A Cruel Kindness, then, which makes such a guide as basic as can be. According to writer/director Winifred Holmes’s film, the three food groups are carbohydrates (“energy”), fat (“warmth), and protein (“for growth”). And sometimes, small quantities of vitamins. The filmmakers make no effort to explain what benefits this last group provides, likely because no documentary team wants to bore viewers with a discussion about watercress. We get it — it’s really good for you! Enough already, watercress. You’re almost as insufferable as kale.

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