BFIBritish HeritageHistory & NostalgiaNew ReleasesCOI COLLECTION VOL. 5: PORTRAIT OF A PEOPLE (2 discs)

SKU: TF2307


5 hrs.


Almost five hours viewing, across 14 Public Information films, with successive governments telling us how to be patriotic. Apparently it means everything from encouraging immigration to loving London and a bit of Shakespeare. The community spirit of Huddersfield is celebrated and the English village venerated. Bernard Braden is one of your guides, along with a booklet of essays on the films.


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Full description from the producer:

The Central Office of Information (COI) was established in April 1946 as a successor to the wartime Ministry of Information. It went on to produce and distribute thousands of films for use across Britain, the Commonwealth and the world. Many famous faces have passed through the portals of the COI including luminaries of the British documentary movement such as Paul Rotha, Humphrey Jennings and Lindsay Anderson and in later years the likes of Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) and Peter Greenaway (The Draughtsman’s Contract) who spent 15 years there.

The fifth volume in the COI collection, Portrait of a People, looks at Britain and its people. Promoting an idealised notion of Britain has often been at the forefront of COI film production: from encouraging immigration to redefining the nation, the titles in this collection are by turns affectionate, humorous, informative and stirring. Together they paint a fascinating and revealing portrait of a people.

Highlights include:

  • Come Saturday (1949), a lovingly-shot picture of the English at play
  • Oxford (1958), a look at the traditions and students of Oxford University
  • Dateline Britain: Look at London (1958), where Canadian-born actor and broadcaster Bernard Braden takes us on a tour of London
  • The Poet’s Eye (1964), how Britain and its people inspired Shakespeare
  • Opus (1967), Don Levy’s provocative look at what’s new and shocking in contemporary British art, fashion and design


  • Shown by Request (1947, 18 minutes): The work of the COI’s Central Film Library is explored
  • Fully illustrated booklet including comprehensive contextualising notes from academics and film historians
  • Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)

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Weight 1 lbs



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