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This review is from: Land of Promise: the British Documentary Movement 1930-1950 (4-disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
These are splendid examples of their type - the sort of thing we were often shown in school in the fifties. The main thing one notices is the faces - real faces of real people in real life; it show up the falsehood of reality TV. A number of the films use actors where required, although they are honest enough to say so - note, for example, Arthur Howard as a pension office clerk, and of course there are actual 'stars' in some of morale boosting episodes - note especially in Gielgud's Hamlet, George Woodbridge as the gravedigger, a part in which, according to Gielgud himself, he starred. Much as I enjoyed the films themselves, it is so sad to see that few of the 'promises' have been kept - note especially those about modern school buildings, class sizes and improved, affordable housing. Films showing work processes and industrial manufacturing techniques are especially fascinating - the sort of film which these days seem to exist only on children's television; there seems to be a horror of showing factual material material outside natural history programmes and suchlike, which is a great shame. The sound seemed fine to me - even using a laptop - the the images, although some were unsurprisingly, dulled a little by age, are often as haunting now as they were when they first appeared. I had a marvellous time watching these - how lucky we are that the films still exist to show just what a set of fine film makers we had then, and their reputations can only be enhanced by making these films available; more, please BFI.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jul 2012 16:33:32 BDT
P. G. Croft says:
I totally agree with what you say in all respects. my only gripe is that I paid the BFI £36.00 for my set.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Oct 2012 12:20:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Oct 2012 12:22:34 BDT
des hill says:
caveat emptor (buyer beware --- for those that don't understand) mr/ms Croft. Frankly, I think that to be able to buy such films now, of such quality is cause for celebration enough, this would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Even at £36, they are a bargain. If by paying this to the BFI, it means that future films can be funded and released, I count that as an investment.
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