F.: J. M. Burgoyne-Johnson. M.: John Krish. Cast: Richard Massingham, Dick Emery. Prod.: Richard Massingham per Public Relationship Films/Central Office of Information; 35mm. L.: 29 m. D.: 1’ 2’’ a 24 f/s.
In Paris, there are hills made from heterogeneous debris deposited by ancient inhabitants. Similarly, in Art, there are those who create and those who give the illusion of creating. There are painters who cover huge surfaces, painting ocean liners, department stores, train stations and metros. Then there is a tiny Patenier, a tiny Daumier, a tiny Van Gogh. This is what I think of when I am asked to speak of Massingham. He did not expose kilometers of film, nor did he have pyramids, cities, or forums built within the studios, and he did not seek out Shakespeare. But he did content himself to making tiny films, so pure, so marvelous, and so powerful that if I were asked who is the greatest English director, I would answer: Massingham, because he is at the same time Méliès and Vigo; and if I were asked who is the king of suspense, I would say without a moment’s hesitation: it’s Massingham. And if I were asked who is both the greatest technician and the greatest poet of British cinema, I would once again answer: it’s Massingham; and if I were asked who is the English director closest to Buñuel and to Mack Sennet, I would again say: it’s Massingham. Clearly, this will surprise anyone who has forgotten that size doesn’t count, and that Vermeer painted small pictures, and that the paintings he left us are no more numerous than Massingham’s films.
Henri Langlois, in Richard Massingham. A Tribute by his Friends and a Record of his Films, London, 1955