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The GPO Film Unit Collection Volume 1 in September

BFI have announced the UK DVD release of Addressing the Nation: The GPO Film Unit Collection Volume 1 on 22nd September 2008 priced at £24.99 RRP. This set is the first of three deluxe double-disc box sets presenting all the key films of the GPO Film Unit on DVD for the first time. The complete collection includes filmmakers such as John Grierson, Len Lye and Humphrey Jennings.

Created 75 years ago out of the ashes of the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit, the GPO Film Unit was one of the most remarkable creative institutions that Britain has produced. A hotbed of creative energy and talent, it provided a springboard to many of the best-known and critically acclaimed figures in the British Documentary Movement.

John Grierson, Alberto Cavalcanti, Humphrey Jennings, Basil Wright, Harry Watt, Edgar Anstey and Arthur Elton, alongside innovators and experimentalists such as Len Lye and Norman McLaren are some of the directors whose work embraced public information films, drama-documentary, social reportage, animation and advertising.

Celebrating the 75th anniversaries in September 2008 of both the BFI and the GPO Film Unit itself, the BFI National Archive, in partnership with The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA), Royal Mail and BT Heritage, has curated and restored this legendary output of short films. A selection of highlights will be screened in cinemas nationwide in the programme Love Letters and Live Wires and two special events will take place at BFI Southbank.

For more details on screenings visit the GPO Film Unit Project page on the BFI Website.

Addressing the Nation contains 15 films from the period 1933-1935 and provides a fascinating exploration of the unit’s early experimentation with sound. It features Basil Wright’s award-winning Song of Ceylon and Len Lye’s A Colour Box; the critically acclaimed Weather Forecast; Coal Face – directed by Alberto Cavalcanti and Auden and Britten’s precursor to Night Mail (included in volume two) and other neglected works, many of which will be available for the first time since their original release.

The discs are presented in a deluxe box with an 80-page bound book. Volume two will be released in February 2009 and volume three later in 2009.

Features include:

  • 1.33:1 Full Frame
  • Dolby Digital Mono audio (320kbps)
  • English HOH subtitles
  • On the Fishing Banks of Skye (John Grierson, 1935)
  • GPO Film Display trailer
  • 80-page book containing introductory essays, biographies and film notes

The films run a total of approximately 140-minutes, with extras running approximately 14-minutes. The film-listing follows…

Disc one
The Coming of the Dial (Stuart Legg, 1933)
Cable Ship (Alexander Shaw, Stuart Legg, 1933)
Granton Trawler (John Grierson, 1934)
John Atkins Saves Up (Arthur Elton, 1934)
Air Post (Geoffrey Clark, 1934)
The Glorious Sixth of June (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1934)
Pett and Pott (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1934)
6.30 Collection (Harry Watt, Edgar Anstey, 1934)
Weather Forecast (Evelyn Spice, 1934)

Disc two
Song of Ceylon (Basil Wright, 1934)
A Colour Box (Len Lye, 1935)
Coal Face (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1935)
The King’s Stamp (William Coldstream, 1935)
BBC The Voice of Britain (Stuart Legg, 1935)
Sixpenny Telegram (Donald Taylor, 1935)

Tags bfi, gpo
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