4 hrs. 12 mins.
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Over 15 great 1930s documentary films from the celebrated GPO Film Unit, directed by the likes of John Grierson, Alberto Cavalcanti and Harry Watt. Subjects covered are as diverse as 1930s London, trawler fishing, life on Britain’s islands, laying telephone cables in the 1930s Chilterns, coal mining, the new-fangled telephone, British transport and East Anglian floods.
Full description from the producer:
A 3-disk release of GPO Film Unit documentaries from the early days of the Unit in the 1930s.
Disk 1: Granton Trawler (1934). Directed by John Grierson. About a trawler fishing on the Viking Bank. Coal Face (1935). Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. An experiment in sound in a coal mine. A Job in a Million (1940). Directed by Evelyn Spice. A young cockney lad trains as a messenger boy with the Post Office. Spare Time (1939). Directed by Humphrey Jennings. Workers in the steel, cotton and coal industries at leisure. The City (1939). Directed by Ralph Elton. The growth and development of London. The Post Office helped ease congestion on the roads with its own underground railway.
Disk 2: The Saving of Bill Blewitt (1937). Directed by Harry Watt. How two fishermen save up to replace their wrecked boat. North Sea (1938). Directed by Harry Watt. An Aberdeen trawler in trouble gets assistance from Wick coastguard radio station. The first successful example of the now familiar drama-documentary. The Islanders (1939). Directed by Maurice Harvey. Life on the islands of Eriskay, Guernsey and Inner Farne are linked to the mainland by the Post Office. A Midsummers Day’s Work (1939). About the laying of an 18-mile underground telephone cable in the Chilterns from Amersham to Aylesbury.
Disk 3: The King’s Stamp (1935). Directed by William Coldstream. The designing and printing of the King George V Silver Jubilee stamp, followed by a short history of postage stamps. The Fairy of the Phone (1936). Directed by William Coldstream. A fanciful comedy on how to use the telephone. News for the Navy (1937). Directed by Norman McLaren. Following a package from letter box to delivery to HMS Incredible in Bermuda. N or NW (1937). Directed by Len Lye. The importance of correctly addressing a letter of apology. Roadways (1937). Directed by Stuart Legg and William Coldstream. The history of transport, especially the growth in road traffic. The Horsey Mail (1938). Directed by Pat Jackson. The mail is delivered by boat when part of East Norfolk is hit by floods. Mony a Pickle (1939). Produced by Alberto Cavalcanti. The Post Office Savings Bank is a natural target for Scottish thrift. Nine for Six (1939). A telegram saves the day when a football team loses its only ball just before a match.