1944 – They Came to a City

The above Youtube clip is just one minute long. Watch the entire movie on my Bitchute channel (HiveMindRX) : https://www.bitchute.com/video/2GmwUCsOzIo6/

They Came to a City is the antithesis of an action movie: I have never been able to sit through an entire screening of this yawnfest without jolting awake part-way through and having to scroll back to take it up from when I started copping zzzzs. On the other hand, as a lifelong insomniac, I am grateful for the movie’s proven excellent soporific qualities, and it has place of honor amongst the rank of gently-droning audiobooks which I routinely play to lull me to sleep.

Q: So why review a 1944 black-and-white British film which is deadly dull?

A: Because this film — essentially nothing more than a socialist/communist/feminist/NWO propaganda piece — presents concepts which are plaguing us today; it even presents — with the meretricious glitter of the newly-minted — phrases (such as “social justice”) which have been part of the background static for the last 20 years. The movie is a roadmap to where we stand today and to where the globalists/trans-humanists want us to be tomorrow: living in a hive where we own nothing, not even our own children; where everyone works for the State; where the communal reigns supreme and the individual must conform to the primacy of the group; where “everyone is happy and healthy” (or imprisoned for wrong-think).

Moreover, in looking over the critical reviews of They Came to a City, I have not found a single reference to the over-arching esoteric element of the movie, one which jumped right out at me, impossible to not-see: the Masonic theme. The drama is constructed as a “framed narrative” whose frame is arguably set in the Garden of Eden and whose nested narrative presents sustained visual imagery which makes undeniably clear that the “story-within-a-story” takes place within the confines of an abstract Freemasonic temple.

The movie opens with a shot of a young courting couple, both in uniform, resting on a walking path above an English mill-town in the valley below. Factory smokestacks loom over huddled houses. The image is carefully crafted to instantly call up (in the mind of the educated audience) two key concepts: firstly, remembrances of the medieval city dominated by cathedral towers (the repressive rule of Religion); secondly, remembrances of the Nineteenth Century English factory towns which blighted lives and landscape (the oppressive rule of Capitalism).

Recall the popularity of reformer John Ruskin who, in book after book, pleaded for Britishers to reject the mass-produced and restore dignity to the craftsman by returning to the medieval method of manufacturing individual, unique items. In his day, Ruskin was as electrifyingly popular as Elvis was in his. On the flipside of the record, recall the agenda advanced by Engels who excoriated the blight of the mills and preached that the only possible solution to the oppression of private ownership was State-ownership of the means of production, with all workers happily serving the benevolent interests of the State. Engels was the son of a wealthy and indulgent factory-owner, and was thus free from the tedious necessity of earning his living: Engels was able to spend his time writing books pushing communism.

They Came to a City packs a lot of cultural history into its opening shot. But that’s not all: the concept of the Garden of Eden is immediately introduced — not the Garden of Eden you learned about in your Southern Baptist Bible School, but the Garden of Eden posited by the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism.

The courting couple are arguing about whether the present war (WWII) would subsequently produce social change in the lives of their fellow Englishmen. The young woman argues that people will demand a “better world,” while the young man (Jimmy) pessimistically rejects her argument.

Author JB Priestley sharing arcane wisdom with the courting couple — or Lucifer sitting under the Tree of Knowledge with Adam and Eve

A wayfaring stranger (played by J.B. Priestley, the author of the play and screenplay) approaches the sparring couple and, using the stratagem of requesting a light, inserts himself into the discussion.

Motifs, as you know, are defined as “irreducible elements” and are employed by kaleidoscopically shuffling them around to construct new (but similar) plots. In this scene, the “Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden” motif is evident: the young woman is trying to convince Jimmy to accept something (her argument). Jimmy balks at accepting something which goes against what he has been taught by authority figures. The wayfaring stranger fits into the Lucifer/Satan/Serpent-in-the-Garden set of motifs.

It is significant that the wayfaring stranger strikes a match and creates light. In the tenets of Gnosticism and in Freemasonry (which derives from Gnosticism; see Garry W. Trompf, The Gnostic World. Routledge, 2018, https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/doi/10.4324/9781315561608-41 ), the angel Lucifer (literally light-bearer) is regarded as freeing first Eve, then Adam, from the intellectual darkness imposed by evil drama-queen Jehovah, that jealous and genocidal bully.

Observe that the match that the stranger strikes to create fire and light was obtained from Jimmy: Jimmy already had on his person the means to enlightenment but it took the urging of his girlfriend and the wise counsel of the stranger to access it. This occult theme is expressed in card #0 in the Tarot, where The Fool is shown about to step off a precipice.

The Fool, 1909 Waite deck

n 1909, Freemason A. E. Waite commissioned this famous illustration of The Fool (see Sørina Higgins, “A. E. Waite and the Occult” in The Oddest Inkling, 11 Dec 2013, https://theoddestinkling.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/a-e-waite-and-the-occult/ ; also see “The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, its members and related bodies,” archival material held at the Freemason Museum, London, https://aim25.com/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=19312&inst_id=138&nv1=search&nv2= ). On his back, the Fool carries a knapsack containing the wisdom he already holds, which would enable him to confront and correct his folly. But he is as heedless of the precious esoteric contents of his knapsack as he is of the danger dead ahead. The little dog prancing at his feet signifies the inane exoteric teachings of the Church.

There is much more to be said about these and other arcane allusions contained in the opening scene of They Came to a City, but a full discussion is beyond the scope of this short movie-review. Let us return to the “action.”

The nine who “came to a city”

The wayfaring stranger tells the couple a story about nine ordinary Brits, a cross-section of society: an old charwoman called Mrs. Batley; Alice Foster, a loudmouthed waitress; Lady Loxfield, a widowed noblewoman, and her bullied spinster daughter; the Strittens, a neurotic middle-class wife and her banker-husband; Cudworth, City businessman; Sir George, a crashing bore; and the Walt Whitman-quoting working-class hero, the ballsy merchant seaman Joe. All the characters are types — crudely drawn stereotypes seen through the lens of Priestley’s Marxist ideology: for instance, the middle-class wife Dorothy Stritten is portrayed as a narrow-minded grasping parasite, the widow Lady Loxfield is portrayed as a domineering and snobbish parasite, Sir George is portrayed as a silly ass and a misanthropic parasite (essentially a mean-spirited Bertie Wooster), while merchant seaman Joe and Mrs. Batley, the old charwoman, are portrayed as wise and brave and deeply humane (analogues of John Steinbeck’s Tom Joad and Ma Joad).

The charwoman, Mrs. Batley, swabbing the mosaic compass rose of bank (temple of money)

Each of the nine characters is suddenly, inexplicably transported to a dank and foggy swamp, a conflation of Bunyan’s Slough of Despond and Dante’s dark wood. Individually, the nine characters slog through this daunting fen and suddenly, inexplicably encounter an Ionescoesque landscape of stone stairsteps and huge ashlars. Here we leave behind the Christian imagery of Bunyan and Dante and find a panoply of Masonic symbolism (see Greg Stewart, “masonic Symbolism on the Winding Staircase” in Freemasonic Information, 04 Jan 2011,  https://freemasoninformation.com/masonictraveler/masonic-symbolism-on-the-winding-staircase/ ; see also Anonymous, “The Ashlars,” in Freemasonic Information, n.d.,  https://freemasoninformation.com/masonic-education/esoterica/the-ashlars/ ).

The Ionescoesque landscape is an abstract Masonic Temple interior with the well-known checkerboard tile floor and two pillars (see The Euphrates, “The Checkered Flooring” in Freemasonic Information, 07 Mar 2009,  https://freemasoninformation.com/banks-of-the-euphrates/the-checkered-flooring/ ; also see Anonymous, “Pillars of the Porch” in Freemasonic Information, 07 Mar 2009,  https://freemasoninformation.com/masonic-education/books/the-beginning-of-masonry/pillars-of-the-porch/ ).

The three working-class characters, Mrs. Batley, Alice, and Joe in front of armillary, another Masonic symbol

The landscape even features a very obscure, rarely seen Masonic item: an armillary (see Yasha Beresiner, “Masonic Globes.” PS Review of Freemasonry. n.d.  http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/beresiner4a.html ).

In their interactions with the mild-mannered and always-polite middle-class and upper-class characters, Joe and Alice harshly castigate them, flinging invective and viciously scathing ad hominem attacks. Neurotic Mrs. Stritten draws their ire in particular: Mrs. Stritten’s admitted desire to have her “own children” and her “own garden” infuriates them both. Joe and Alice take that as proof of her abject selfishness. Children should be raised communally. (Mrs. Stritten has previously called Alice “common” — indeed, Alice does come across as someone who would engage in a bit of casual prostitution to make ends meet.) Joe and Alice take Mrs. Stritten’s yen for traditional family life as proof of her abject selfishness: children should be raised communally. It speaks of the viciousness of the characters of Joe and Alice that they concentrate their savage hatred on the weakest of the group, the emotionally-fragile Mrs. Stritten, while telling her that she is jealous of other people’s happiness and suggest she would be better off dead.

Interesting that Joe and Alice instantly recognized the other’s psychopathic soul: it was love-at-first-sight.

The movie received very good contemporary reviews from drama and literary critics, the same chattering crowd who, a few years before, had lauded Marxist John Reed for his sympathetic portrayal of Lenin and Stalin and his excited proclamations that the Soviet Union did things right! (totally ignoring the on-going Holodomor, the deliberate starvation of millions of small farmers).

Regarding the tediously didactic plot of this yawnfest of a propaganda film which unwinds like a snail on ‘ludes, I will leave that for you to discover. Strong coffee might-could help … Enjoy!

This essay is cross-posted to THE GADSDEN RATTLER https://thegadsdenrattler.com

Contact Editor Rosalie Stafford if you are interested in writing for