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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2011
This is Volume One of the BFI's commitment to ensure all of acclaimed British documentary maker Humphrey Jennings' films are finally available on Blu-ray and DVD. This is a Dual-Format edition, so there's both a Blu-ray disc and a DVD with the same content. Due to the quality of the prints of these early films, dating from 1934-40, they are never going to be breathtaking transfers, but because of this I honestly can't imagine them looking any better than they do here. Some of these have been released by the BFI on previous boxsets, but this is the first time that we can finally have all of Jennings' early films together in one set. Here's a list of all the films included on this set:

Post Haste (1934)
Locomotives (1934)
The Story of the Wheel (1934)
Farewell Topsails (1937)
Penny Journey (1938)
Speaking from America (1938)
The Farm (1938)
Making Fashion (1938)
Spare Time (1939)
SS Ionian (1939)
The First Days (1939)
Spring Offensive (1940)
Welfare of the Workers (1940)
London Can Take It! (1940)

As special features go, there's a couple of alternate cuts of the above films, and a 1936 film for Shell, 'The Birth of the Robot', which Jennings worked on. Jennings was one of the very best documentary makers Britain has ever produced, and hopefully this collection will reintroduce his work to a new generation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
As with Volume Two of this new proposed series of three blu rays dedicated to the work of the inspired film maker Humphrey Jennings, I cannot praise the BFI too highly in making this work available. The documentaries are extraordinary and capture our history and culture in ways which are both lyrical and inspired. And the transfers are as good as they will ever be. Impressive stuff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Starting from the early days of film documentaries, this collection shows just how they developed from the early, almost amateurish beginnings to the more powerful just a decade later. This collection is worthy of anyone's collection if they like the story of cinema taken from another angle.

I went to 'The Pictures' almost weekly during the early to mid sixties and would always watch everything shown at least once, often twice - I liked to get my money's worth. The main film, the 'B' film, Pathé News, the travelogue or whatever the documentary happened to be and even the adverts. It was far removed from the television of the time (black and white, grainy and small screen) and the cinema became an adventure.

These documentaries take me back to a more innocent time - happy days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2013
THE FIRST DAYS is a must for people who like me like good documentaries.
HUMPHREY JENNINGS made this kind of film work an art form.
the whole trilogy is brilliant
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2013
I bought this boxset along with volume two and watched them as they arrived. I loved the way Jennings held up a mirror to the times he was recording and has left us with a body of work that will live on as a document of the time now sadly (or not) gone.
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on 1 August 2014
Sorry to say nothing ever gets 5 stars, but this DVD is brilliant.
If you came from that era, its wonderful to see many long forgotten images of childhood, most of which was happening without my knowledge behind my mother however.
My favourite film has to be 'Sparetime' which has so much in common with 'Every Valley' the BT film of 1957, that one realises what influence HJ had on later film makers.
I highly recomend this and look forward to a purchase of the next volume.
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on 16 June 2013
Jennings' work, especially in the London sequences,
is truly inspired. It is also, of course, a superb historical record.
A must for documentary enthusiasts.
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on 17 June 2013
One man's ideas of film making, from some of the early work through to WW II.
Unmissable documentary films, sadly not shown on TV enough..
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on 2 December 2012
Love these old documentary's of our bygone past most of these filmed in troubled times London can take it being a great example.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2015
It is such a disappointment that this classic has so much grain added to the print. This makes it almost unwatchable on a large screen or projector.
I was so looking forward to having clear crisp Blu Ray copy that would be as restored but the BFI have added digital grain to the original beyond what is reasonable. For custodians of our Film Heritage they should review this vandalism as not being to their usually excellent reputation
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