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Customer Review

on 26 November 2010
This great collection of 22 short documentary/docu-dramas were made from 1936-38, with running times of between 4 to 31 minutes, and are mostly connected with a common theme: the work and services provided by the G.P.O.

Some films extol the importance of the post office savings account, for example, "The Saving of Bill Blewitt" is the story of a Cornish village and its inhabitants, facing up to the problems of the slump in the 1930's, while the film "Mony a Pickle" features a young Scottish couple who dream of a home of their own, with the furnishings to go with it, with the "Thrifty Scot" stereotype trotted out.

In the theme of the posted letter, we follow a young boy's postcard, from his posting of it to its delivery, also, we see post for the navy, and we see a young lad training to be a messenger boy.
We also see the early days of the London telephone directory, which grows from a few pages to become a typical thick volume, add the odd "experimental" animated film, and this becomes a diverse collection, with the post, telephone communications, and the telegram nicely covered.
This collection also contains what is probably the G.P.O. film unit's most famous film - "Night Mail", as we follow the mail train's journey, accompanied by that famous W.H. Auden verse, with music provided by Benjamin Britten.
This is just a selection of these informative and charming films.

Here is a list of all the films, with a few details (All films were shot on 35mm film, and are black and white unless stated.) With good picture and sound quality.

*DISC ONE:
Rainbow Dance (4 mins/colour/1936).
The Saving Of Bill Blewitt (24 mins/1936).
Calendar Of The Year (16 mins/1936).
The Fairy Of The Phone (12 mins/1936).
Night Mail (23 mins/1936).
Roadways (15 mins/1937).
Trade Tattoo (5 mins/colour/1937).
Big Money (14 mins/1937).
We Live In Two Worlds (13 mins/1937).
N or NW (7 mins/1937).

*DISC TWO:
A Job In A Million (16 mins/1937).
Book Bargain (8 mins/1937).
What's On Today (12 mins/1938).
Love On The Wing (4 mins/colour/1938).
The Horsey Mail (9 mins/1938).
The H.P.O. (4 mins/colour/1938).
News For The Navy (10 mins/1938).
Mony A Pickle (10 mins/1938).
North Sea (31 mins/1938).
Penny Journey - the story of a postcard from Manchester to Graffham (6 mins/1938).
The Tocher (5 mins/1938).
God's Chillun (9 mins/1938).

*SPECIAL FEATURES:
*English subtitles. Dolby digital mono sound.
*An excellent 96-page booklet, containing introductory essays, selected biographies and film notes, with an interview with director Alberto Cavalcanti. The booklet also contains full details of each film and its running time.

The two discs and booklet are stored inside a sturdy cardboard outer case.

Another great release from the BFI.
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