Listen To Britain

Humphrey Jennings, Stewart Mcallister

Scen.: Humphrey Jennings, Stewart Mcallister; F.: Henry Fowle; M.: Humphrey Jennings, Stewart Mcallister; Ass.R.: Joe Mendoza; Direttore Di Produzione: Dora Wright; Su.: Ken Cameron; Int.: Myra Hess, Raf Symphony Orchestra Diretta Dal Tenente Colonnello R.P. O’donnell, Howard Ferguson (Voltapagine), Flanagan E Allen, Leonard Brockington; Prod.: Ian Dalrymple, Per Crown Film Unit/Ministry Of Information; 35mm. D.: 20’ A 24 F/S. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Stewart McAllister’s importance as Jennings’ editor was recognised by his shared directorial credit on this film, a compact and absolute masterpiece. Shaping the audio-visual flow was particularly important here, for there is no commentary to direct (or detract) our attention. The film is entirely made up of sounds from the radio, the factory, the dance floor, the mine, the railways, the classical concert, planes in the skies, birds, horses’ hooves: the sounds of a country getting on with life and the war together. And behind it all lies a subtle propaganda message: this is who we British are, and this is why we are fighting. The film was shot in the summer and early autumn of 1941, when German firepower had moved eastwards, towards Russia. The pianist Myra Hess, prominently featured, established a popular series of lunchtime concerts at the National Gallery. The cross-section of types and classes seen in the audience is typical, though the gathering didn’t always include Queen Elizabeth, as it does here.

Geoff Brown

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