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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...

English Harvest

... ... 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 ... More »

Dim Little Island

The post-war world seemed to have little time or space for Jennings' films. By the end of the turbulent forties, the mood of Britain was changing profoundly, and his cinematic songs of unity and ... More »

The Silent Village

... ... The grimmest in tone of all Jennings' work and essentially a fiction film, The Silent Village is both a memorial and message. ... ... ... The Nazis destruction of the Czechoslovakian mining ... More »

Spare Time

... ... 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 »

London Can Take It

... ... Jennings' great wartime work really began with London Can Take It. Along with Watt he made this, the first of the home-front war films to make its mark. A one-reeler shot in haste, the film ... More »

Design For Spring

... ... 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 ... More »

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