The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume Three: A Diary for Timothy (1944 - 1950) DVD9
Jennings was killed filming in Greece in 1950 aged 43, bringing to a premature end the career of one of the major figures in British cultural life of the 1930s and 40s. Poet, painter, designer, surrealist, Blakean social visionary, he brought all his gifts together as a documentary film-maker. He was, according to Lindsay Anderson, "the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced".

Volume 3 of his complete films spans 1944-50, when Jennings died following a location-scouting accident: in keeping with its completist remit, the BFI has included The Good Life (1951), the film that he was preparing at the time.

The recurring topics are music and postwar uncertainties. The former is tackled by The True Story of Lili Marlene (1944), the bizarre story of how a song played on German radio as a morale-booster was co-opted by the Allies, by Myra Hess (1945), a Beethoven sonata movement performed by one of the war’s great cultural figures, and by part of The Dim Little Island (1949), a reflection by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, artist Osbert Lancaster, naturalist James Fisher and industrialist John Ormston on Britain’s continuing cultural and global importance in a much-changed postwar landscape.

This was the key theme of Jennings’ last half-decade, expressed most eloquently in the masterly A Diary for Timothy and his Festival of Britain-commissioned swansong Family Portrait (1950), the ‘family’ being the British nation. The Cumberland Story (1947) takes a different angle, examining the history and aftermath of the 1837 Workington mining disaster, while A Defeated People (1946) examines the challenges faced in rehabilitating Germany after total military defeat – a defeat that seemed far from certain at the time of The Eighty Days (1944), when V-1 rockets were being aimed at Britain.

This third and final volume of the BFI's acclaimed Humphrey Jennings collection means that one of British film history's glaring gaps is now definitively filled.

DVD9 | PAL 4:3 | 218 minutes | 7.50 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Documentary

* The True Story of Lili Marlene (1944)
* The Eighty Days (1944)
* Myra Hess (1945)
* A Diary for Timothy (1945)
* A Defeated People (1946)
* The Cumberland Story (1947)
* The Dim Little Island (1949)
* Family Portrait (1950)

* V.1 (1944): a shorter cut of The Eighty Days, made for overseas distribution
* The Good Life (1951): The film Jennings was working on at his death

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