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on 19 May 2012
This is the second of three volumes of the BFI's project to release all of British filmmaker Humphrey Jenning's films on DVD and Blu-ray. As with Volume One, this is a Dual-format package including both a Blu-ray and DVD with the same films on both. Fitting in with the chronological sequence of the volumes, these are the films he made during World War II. There are far fewer films than the previous volume, though one of them, 'Fires Were Started', clocks in at over a hour, while another, 'The Silent Village' is 35 minutes long. The full list of films included here is:

The Heart of Britain (1941)
Words for Battle (1941)
Listen to Britain (1941)
Fires Were Started (1943)
The Silent Village (1943)

As with the previous collection, the Blu-ray shows the limitation of the old film prints which these transfers were taken directly from, though they generally look very good for films that are now 70 years old. There's another comprehensive booklet inside, with notes about each film, and two extra features on the disc - one is 'This is England' which is an alternative cut of 'The Heart of Britain', and the other is 'I Was a Fireman', which runs at 74 minutes and is the original cut of 'Fires Were Started'.
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Wow ! What films! What transfers and occasionally restorations!
The two volumes of Jenning's wonderful documentaries released to date are quite astonishing.
The Silent Village is extraordinary as is the passionate lyricism of his other work.
Congratulations BFI on making these wonderful blu rays available. Such work more than justifies your continuation as a publicly funded body and ensures that such gems are made available to new audiences.
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on 5 June 2013
The five films in this collection are all treasurable. "Fires Were Started-" (1943) is perhaps the most famous but the others do not suffer by comparison, especially "Words For Battle" (1941). I happen to have seen Powell and Pressburger's "49th Parallel" recently and am struck by the greater effectiveness of Jennings' documentaries as propaganda and as art. Whereas the 1941 movie resorts to tedious speeches by paper cutout Nazis to get its message across, the documentaries rely on un-narrated pictures of stunning power and deft editing to involve and hold the viewer. Jennings' exceptional ability to tell a story in documentary style, using non-actors but still orchestrating most of the action to create a convincing pictorial narrative, marks him out as one of the geniuses of this form of cinema. The prints seen here are sharp and intact though some carry quite a lot of wear and tear. They do not appear to have been restored, which probably accounts for the good black and white contrast. The sound tracks are excellent. A most collectable collection.
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on 19 September 2013
An evocative film of the war made by Humphrey Jennings, the best documentary film maker of that time and well worth seeing more than once.
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on 14 March 2013
Amazing collection of films by Jennings that present a view of a lost world. I bought both volumes in one go and have watched most of the films over the last two weeks or so.

Definetly worth adding to your collection.
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on 17 June 2013
This and volume two take us through a very important historical period, the 1930's and 40's. Despite some of the films being 'set up', they still show a Britain of that period. Important histoical viewing.
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on 24 July 2013
HUMPHREY JENNINGS was one of the best documentary film makers of all time.
his early death robbed us of a cinematic genious
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on 5 June 2016
The Silent Village film is amazing. Haven't viewed the others yet but expect the same. Should be required viewing.
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on 28 October 2015
Nice little series of social documentaries. Worth the money.
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on 4 November 2015
Splendid films, really well reproduced.
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