Humphrey Jennings Collector's Edition in July
Film First have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of Humphrey Jennings Collector's Edition for 25th July 2005 priced at £19.99. The collection shows his finest and most important war documentaries Listen to Britain, Diary for Timothy, both from the newly-made BFI 2004 prints and I Was A Fireman (aka Fires Were Started), which is regarded by contemporary documentary makers as possibly the best documentary ever.
The DVD also features Kevin MacDonald’s (Touching The Void) highly praised Channel 4 documentary Humphrey Jennings, The Man Who Listened to Britain and comes with a 12 page booklet introduced by David Puttnam.
Humphrey Jennings is the godfather of the current new wave of documentary filmmakers and has influenced the likes of Richard Attenborough, David Puttnam and Mike Leigh.
Diary for Timothy is a true masterpiece and as real today as it was 60 years ago. Set at the end of 1944, with victory inevitable and a nation wearied by war Jennings makes a film diary for the newborn Timothy Jenkins capturing the world he is born into. Scripted by EM Forster and narrated by Michael Redgrave, it uses the viewpoints of an ordinary farmer, a fighter pilot and an engine driver. Jennings gets right into the hearts of the people.
Listen to Britain is a classic of the British documentary tradition. Set in 1942 it offers a sweeping tour of Britain, focusing on the sounds to be found around the country. The film takes in diverse situations, including Spitfires over fields, a ballroom in Blackpool, soldiers on a train and a Flanagan and Allen show. Each snapshot adds to an overall picture of Britain during the war, as perceived by Jennings.
I Was A Fireman, also known in a slightly different cut as Fires Were Started, is Jennings’ highly acclaimed and hugely influential reconstructed documentary. Jennings hung out with the firemen as London was bombed, listened to them and put together a script which they acted out to show just what it was like being a fireman in the blitz. The way the story is structured provides a portrait of what was then a besieged Britain that is astonishingly intimate, another masterpiece of British Cinema.