Words For Battle

Humphrey Jennings

Scen.: Humphrey Jennings; Voce Del Commento: Laurence Olivier; F.: Henry Fowle; M.: Stewart Mcallister; Mu.: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Georg Friedrich Händel, Eseguita Dalla London Symphony Orchestra Diretta Da Sir Malcolm Sargent; Su.: Ken Cameron; Prod.: Ian Dalrymple, Per Crown Film Unit/Ministry Of Information; 35mm. D.: 8’ 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

With war raging in London, Jennings’ outfit, now firmly tucked under the Government’s wing and renamed the Crown Film Unit, moved its headquarters to Denham in the country, where this film was compiled in relative safety. All the footage derives from previous Unit films, some by Jennings. The singularity arises from the soundtrack’s compendium of quotations – including Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and one of Jennings’ great inspirations, William Blake – and the way these “words for battle” blend the heroic past with the dangerous present. In March 1941, Jennings recorded the soundtrack with the London Symphony Orchestra at the capital’s best concert venue, Queen’s Hall; eight weeks later bombing destroyed the building, along with all the orchestra’s instruments.

Geoff Brown

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