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Diary for Timothy

UK, 1945 (MIFF 1995, Buried Treasures - Humphrey Jennings)

Director: Humphrey Jennings

A fitting conclusion to Jennings' war record, this film of old death and new life-a war ending and rebirth-takes the form of a story addressed to a new-born child, recounting the sacrifices and struggles of the British people, yet celebrating the fact that it looks as if the worst is over.

A scriptless creation—Jennings was always out shooting and the pattern eventually took shape in the cutting room-the commentary written by E.M. Forster (read by Michael Redgrave) is sad and tinged with sentimentality, but Diary For Timothy is more than typically complex. In one sequence, he brilliantly fuses two totally dis­parate wartime events—the introduction of the German's V-2 (a faster than sound missile that was raining silently down on London), and a popular production of Hamlet that was then play­ing at the Haymarket Theatre with John Gielgud—and what so easily could have been a conceit becomes a stroke of cinematic genius.

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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