Archive for December 28th, 2008


by Allan Fish

(UK 1942 19m) DVD1/2

The pulse of a nation

p  Ian Dalrymple  Humphrey Jennings  Stewart McAllister, Humphrey Jennings  ph  H.E.Fowle  ed  Humphrey Jennings

Humphrey Jennings’ output at the Crown Film Unit during the war has long been the subject of critical eulogy, the sort of independent vision that draws both awe and wonder.  Listen to Britain is his greatest miniature time capsule, a film that demands viewing for anyone inquiring as to the mood of a nation at war.  It’s best summed up by the superb foreword of Leonard Brockington.  “I am a Canadian.  I have been listening to Britain.  I have heard the sound of her life, by day and by night.  Many years ago a great American, speaking of Britain, said that in the storm of battle and conflict she had a secret vigour and a pulse like a cannon.  In the great sound picture that is here presented, you too will hear that heart beating.  For blended together, in one great symphony, is the music of Britain at war; the evening hymn of the lark; the roar of spitfires; the dancers in the great ballroom at Blackpool; the clank of machinery and shunting trains; soldiers of Canada holding in memory, in proud memory, their home on the range; the BBC sending truth on its journey around the world.  The trumpet call of freedom.  The war song of a great people.  The first sure notes of the march of victory, as you and I listen to Britain.” (more…)

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