Brent Brenyo


In 1917, the British War Office released a film directed by Joseph Best titled Whatsoever a Man Soweth. The 38-minute silent film used intertitles to convey dialogue, and the film’s narrative, which focuses on three Canadian soldiers on leave in London, England, was intended to provide sex education for soldiers. This paper examines how the film reflected and constructed a wartime reality through cultural representations, as increased attention was paid to the threat of venereal disease and its impact on racial health and the British Empire during the First World War. Ultimately, this sex education film provided soldiers with a medical-moral education about racial health; it vividly conveyed fears about VD and racial degeneration, but also highlighted a belief in social hygiene and racialized moral arguments to protect and ensure the health of the Anglo-Saxon race.