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Night Mail [1936] [DVD]

Geoffrey Tandy , Norman Wooland , Anthony Gilkison , Bob Franklin    Exempt   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Night Mail [1936] [DVD] + The British Transport Films Collection Volume 1 - On and Off the Rails [DVD] + The British Transport Films Collection Volume 2 - See Britain By Train [DVD]
Price For All Three: 29.75

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Product details

  • Actors: Geoffrey Tandy, Norman Wooland
  • Directors: Anthony Gilkison, Bob Franklin, J.B. Holmes
  • Writers: Blake Morrison, W.H. Auden
  • Producers: Paul Rotha, Peter Williams
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Nov 2007
  • Run Time: 25 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WM9WKU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,999 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

One of the most critically acclaimed, best-loved and most iconic films produced within the British documentary movement, Night Mail (1936) tells the fascinating story of the travelling post office from Euston to Glasgow and the men who worked on it. The famous final section of the film features Benjamin Britten's score and verse by WH Auden, timed to the rhythms of the train.

This British Film Institute release is a digitally re-mastered Collector's Edition of the film in partnership with The British Postal Museum & Archive and the Royal Mail. Specially packaged in a presentation box, it contains extras including four short films and a 25-page booklet featuring an essay by writer and poet Blake Morrison.


NIGHT MAIL sees a celebration of the Postals Special run from London to Scotland. WH Auden's verse and Benjamin Britten's music. Restored and remastered edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small but excellent collection 7 Jan 2011
By Colin Smith "keep on running" TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a small but fascinating collection of five short films, the first of which is possibly the most famous film produced by the G.P.O. Film unit - NIGHT MAIL, in which the 8.30pm mail train travels with 40 staff, we see the sorting of the mail as the overnight train travels from London to Glasgow, along the way we hear that famous WH Auden verse narrated at high speed, with music provided by Benjamin Britten.

The next four films are classified as extras, the first of which is THE WAY TO THE SEA, which features an early account of Portsmouth's association with the Navy, with the early building of a fortress at Southsea.
The next film is SPOTLIGHT ON THE NIGHT MAIL, which follows a letter posted on the night mail train at Euston station, we witness the preparation work on the Locomotive before it sets off on its journey, then eventually see the letter reach its destination in Aberdeen.
Up next is THIRTY MILLION LETTERS, the film opens in a sorting depot, then we see the improvised methods of keeping the mail service moving, with one remote community served by a bus with a postbox inside, the film rounds off with a postman delivering the post in blizzard conditions.
The final film - NIGHT MAIL 2, is an 80's update on it's more celebrated namesake.

Picture and sound quality are good, with English subtitles. Also included is a 24-page illustrated booklet with essays.
Here is a list of the films with brief details:

Night Mail (1936,B/W,23 mins).
The Way To The Sea (1936,B/W,15 mins).
Spotlight On The Night Mail (1948,B/W,17 mins).
Thirty Million Letters (1963,colour,28 mins).
Night Mail 2 (1986,colour,25 mins).
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143 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just the Night Mail 1 Jan 2008
Night Mail, which contains several other "shorts" as well as the title film, is a short collection of digitally remastered documentaries made in the 1930s and beyond concerning the travelling postal services on our railways. It is enjoyable to watch - you can almost smell the steam - and to listen to as well, with the characteristic clipped tones of documentary commentaries from the era. I wouldn't call it nostalgic as I wasn't born until the late 1950s, but it does make you feel somewhat wistful for a time when we took pride in our services like the railways and the mail, and importance was attached to them. Other shorts in the DVD depict related topics like the electrification of the Southern Railway.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Mail 1 Feb 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Imbued with nostalgia, these films were a part of my youth, appearing as shorts at cinemas and later on TV as information films. Whilst blatantly supportive of the institutions they portray, they nevertheless illustrate a time gone by and the ordinary folk who lived in those times. See the grimy and repetitive jobs that our forebears did and the stoic humour they used to get through their work days. Those were the days of employment for most, even though the job would now be done by a machine - if at all. There is much to be learnt from these films of a past Britain and the part railways played in it. Replay, unlike for most DVDs and videos, will always reveal new details and things you haven't thought of before.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Mail - Classic Film 16 July 2009
Night Mail - Collector's Edition Presentation Box [1936] [DVD]

I remember Night Mail as a child especially the verse by WH Auden and the music composed by Benjamin Britten. Very evocative of the golden age of steam. This DVD also has other short films related to the now defunct Royal Mail travelling post office trains. Excellent value for money for someone who is a student of documentary film history or just someone, like me, trying to re-capture their youth!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our steamy past! 11 Sep 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Night Mail [DVD]
The Night Mail - this DVD is a fascinating reflection of our past. One of the films made by John Grierson for the GPO - A steam train - a travelling postal sorting room - mail collected by the train as it passed by gantries furnished with "catching nets" and the sorted mail delivered into similar nets on the side of the line ready for delivery the length of Britain the action accompanied by the music of Benjamin Britten and the words of W. H. Auden - `This is the night mail crossing the border/bringing the cheque and the postal order! A gem which will interest steam train buffs and those who remember when a letter posted in the evening would be delivered promptly the next day!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How things were! 16 Feb 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The actual film is quite short but there is much else on the DVD as well. It is not so much about the trains but about how things were back in the 1930s or so. A fascinating social commentry as much as anything!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is wonderful 28 April 2010
A great film. This edition is a wonderful presentation. Pure nostalgia, my grandson was really fascinated with it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars night mail 11 April 2009
used to work for the royal mail and this brings it home what it was to work for .smashing copy.the extras are all worth it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Choo-choo
If you love REAL trains you'll love this. The Travelling Post Office (as it was known) was one of my first purchases for my Triang model railway. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ascylto
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Satisfied
Great DVD. I am well pleased. I have this film on tape but the quality of this DVD is far far better.

Good no nonsense service.
First class next day delivery. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Graham Sugden
4.0 out of 5 stars Transport through the ages
An excellent documentary with good atmosphere and a delight for railway enthusiasts and lovers of the steam era. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Geoffrey Silkstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Rail Mail
An interesting DVD which has been very well restored. It's good to to see how our mail was transported and sorted. Now road transport is used. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sound
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The quality of these films is just outstanding. It is no wonder that they have stood the test of time and still find new audiences.
Published 3 months ago by John Deason
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable film
I like this film, because it is a glimpse of days long past when the GPO ran the the Night Mail train. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. Peter Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Mail - dvd
I think this version is a better package than the original VHS film. I found it extremely interesting and would be happy to recommend it.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. M. Dainty
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey not to be forgotten
From being a child I have wondered how it must feel to sort the mail as the train speeds along. This film which tells the story of the mail is accompanied by a wonderfully... Read more
Published 6 months ago by MRS
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic
Thoughtfully restored. This disc has all of the excitement you would expect with Auden's famous words and Brittain's musical score.
Published 7 months ago by Bungie
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
It must be good as it has been parodied and copied many times for other things. I was told that opening the doors in the mail pick up coach in the winter around Shap was so cold... Read more
Published 11 months ago by The Village Bike
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