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The Complete Humphrey Jennings volume 3: A Diary for Timothy (DVD + Blu-ray)
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THE COMPLETE HUMPHREY JENNINGS COLLECTION VOLUME 3: A DIARY FOR TIMOTHY (DVD & Blu-ray)
Films by Humphrey Jennings
Widely celebrated as one of Britain's greatest filmmakers, Humphrey Jennings is a true poet of the cinema whose work was the inspiration for Danny Boyle's 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. This, the last of three comprehensive volumes which bring together his entire directorial output, features the films he made between 1944 and 1951, and charts his transition from wartime to peacetime filmmaking.
Featuring A Diary for Timothy, Jennings much-loved collaboration with E M Forster, The Dim Little Island, an muted but affecting celebration of Britishness, and Family Portrait, the esoteric Festival of Britain film, this essential collection confirms Jennings as a master of the cinematic art.
Volume three includes the following films:
- The True Story of Lili Marlene (1944)
- The Eighty Days (1944)
- Myra Hess (1945)
- A Diary for Timothy (1946)
- A Defeated People (1946)
- The Cumberland Story (1947)
- The Dim Little Island (1948)
- Family Portrait (1950)
- Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
- V.1 (1944, 8 mins): alternative cut of The Eighty Days
- The Good Life ( Graham Wallace, 1951, 18 mins ): the film Jennings was working on at his death
- Illustrated booklet featuring film notes, credits and biographies by John Wyver, Patrick Russell, Kevin Jackson, Scott Anthony and others
UK | 1944-1951 |black & white, and colour | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 218 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | Region 0 DVD/Region free Blu-ray)
Disc 1: BD50 | 1080p | 24fps | PCM mono 2.0 audio (48k/24-bit)
Disc2: DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital mono 2.0 audio (320kbps)
'Jennings was a visionary whose best films were touched with oddness and poetry' --Graham Fuller
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The True Story of Lili Marlene (1944)
The Eighty Days (1944)
Myra Hess (1945)
A Diary for Timothy (1946)
A Defeated People (1946)
The Cumberland Story (1947)
The Dim Little Island (1948)
Family Portrait (1950)
Jennings will likely always be remembered for his wartime films, and with the benefit of having his complete output readily available, it's hard to disagree with this. Films here like 'A Diary for Timothy' are great (keep an eye out for a glimpse of John Gielgud's Hamlet), and show how soon after the war people were conscious of documenting the horrors of the previous five years for future generations. Understandably, after the war Jennings lost his muse, and films like 'The Cumberland Story' are well short of his usual standard. On evidence of his final film though, he was re-emerging as a major British filmmaker and it's tempting to imagine what he may have achieved had he not died in a walking accident in Greece at the age of 43.
Fittingly, the film he was working on at the time of his death, 'The Good Life' is included here as a special feature, as is 'V.1.', an alternate cut of 'The Eighty Days'.
Though these films are showing their age, with varying amounts of damage(often from scene to scene), it's rarely distracting and the extra detail shown by the Blu-ray transfer is impressive.
If I were to recommend just one of these volumes, it would be Volume 2 as it contains Jennings' most accomplished and focused works. But really there's no excuse not to own all three, and it's fantastic that we're now in the privileged position where we can finally watch his entire filmography from the comfort of out own sofas.
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