Listen to Britain (1942) [Short]

UK (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.

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