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Listen to Britain

UK, 1942 (MIFF 1995, Buried Treasures - Humphrey Jennings)

Director: Humphrey Jennings

One of the most brilliant syntheses of Jen­nings' and collaborator Stewart McAllister's talents. Eschewing commentary and dialogue (with the exception of a brief introduction added after its initial rejection by the Ministry of Infor­mation) the film was a 'recording experiment and conceivably the first documentary to use an 'anticipatory soundtrack'—where you hear over one shot the sound belonging to the next.

In kaleidoscopic transitions, from Myra Hess playing Mozart in a National Gallery concert to the ragged strains of conversations and music in an army mess, images music and sound com­plement and counterpoint each other. Jennings' most sublimely realised film it could be described as a moving image photo album of Britain set to the random turning of a wartime radio dial.

See also...

I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER

UK, 1968
This film might have been called Grierson on Grierson on Documentary. The Grand Old Scot of the documentary film, the man who virtually coined the word "documentary" for the idea of making the cinema… More »

A CANTERBURY TALE

UK, 1944
A CANTERBURY TALE a 1944 black and white production by Powell and Pressburger. was the first of their productions to be restored by the British National Film Archive The American release version of t… More »

Design For Spring

UK, 1938
... ... Famous dress designer Norman Hartnell, his 1938 studio and the working world of cut­ters and seamstresses, is the focus of this early Jennings work. it is one in which he uses a colour pr… More »

English Harvest

UK, 1939
... ... Shining with the soft hues of early colour and with Jennings evident love of the English landscape, each shot's composition reflects the classical balance and harmony of the romantic, Constab… More »

Spare Time

UK, 1939
... ... With little natural sound-the soundtrack consists largely of music from onscreen sources-and sparse commentary, the film shows how people spent their non-working hours. Overflowing with songs… More »

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