Shadows of Progress

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antnield
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Shadows of Progress

#1 Post by antnield » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:00 pm

Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930-1950

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A slimline reissue of the Land of Promise collection, featuring 40 films over four DVDs, this extensive collection is a major retrospective of the British documentary film movement during its period of greatest influence. These films - many of which are made available here for the first time since their original release - capture the spirit and strength, concerns and resolve of Britain and its people before, during and after the Second World War.

Bearing witness to the social and industrial transformations of a rapidly changing world, these fascinating historical documents are all striking for their different approaches to the form. Using poetry, dramatic reconstruction, modernist techniques and explicit propaganda, the filmmakers found fresh, new ways to get their message across.

Bringing together celebrated and less-known works from such luminaries as Paul Rotha, Humphrey Jennings, Ruby Grierson, Basil Wright and Paul Dickson, this landmark release is accompanied by a 92-page book of essays by leading film historians and experts.

A companion collection, Shadows of Progress: Documentary film in post-war Britain 1951-1977, is also available on BFI DVD.

Disc One
* Industrial Britain (Robert Flaherty, 1931)
* Shipyard (Paul Rotha, 1935)
* Workers and Jobs (Arthur Elton, 1935)
* Housing Problems (Arthur Elton, Edgar Anstey, 1935)
* Children at School (Basil Wright, 1937)
* Farewell Topsails (Humphrey Jennings, 1937)
* Today We Live (Ruby Grierson, Ralph Bond, 1937)
* Eastern Valley (Paul Rotha, Donald Alexander, 1937)
* People of Britain (Paul Rotha, 1936)
* If War Should Come (no director credited, 1939)

Disc Two
* Britain at Bay (Harry Watt, 1940)
* Transfer of Skill (Geoffrey Bell, 1940)
* They Also Serve (Ruby Grierson, 1940)
* Tomorrow is Theirs (James Carr, 1940)
* Words for Battle (Humphrey Jennings, 1941)
* Ordinary People (Jack Lee, J B Holmes, 1941)
* Five and Under (Donald Alexander, 1941)
* Night Shift (J D Chambers, 1942)
* The Countrywomen (John Page, 1942)
* Summer on the Farm (Ralph Keene, 1943)
* Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister, 1942)
* Builders (Pat Jackson, 1942)
* Words and Actions (Max Anderson, 1943)
* A Diary for Timothy (Humphrey Jennings, 1946)

Disc Three
* Land of Promise (Paul Rotha, 1946)
* The Balance (Paul Rotha, 1947)
* What a Life! (Michael Law, 1948)
* The Dim Little Island (Humphrey Jennings, 1948)
* Britain Can Make It (No 1) (Francis Gysin, 1946)
* Fenlands (Ken Annakin, 1945)
* Children's Charter (Gerard Bryant, 1945)
* Chasing the Blues (J D Chambers, Jack Ellitt, 1947)
* Cotton Come Back (Donald Alexander, 1946)
* Five Towns (Terry Bishop, 1947)

Disc Four
* A Plan to Work On (Kay Mander, 1948)
* Mining Review 2nd Year No 11 (Peter Pickering, 1949)
* From the Ground Up (no director credited, 1950)
* Transport (Peter Bradford, 1950)
* The Undefeated (Paul Dickson, 1950)
* Family Portrait (Humphrey Jennings, 1950)

Extras
* John Gierson at the NFT (1959, 13 mins): the ‘father’ of documentary addressing a packed audience at the National Film Theatre
* Close Up: Recollections of British documentary (2008, 40 mins): featuring interviews with some of the key figures from the British Documentary Movement
* 92-page book with essays, biographies and notes by leading researchers and scholars in the field of documentary film

Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-war Britain

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Britain emerged from war a changed country, facing new social, industrial and cultural challenges. Its documentary film tradition - established in the 1930s and 1940s around legendary figures such as Grierson, Rotha and Jennings - continued evolving, utilising technical advances, displaying robust aesthetic concerns, and benefiting from the entry into the industry of wealthy commercial sponsors. Thousands of films were seen by millions worldwide. Received wisdom has been that British documentary went into swift decline after the war, resurrected only by Free Cinema and the arrival of television documentary. Shadows of Progress demolishes these simplistic assumptions, presenting instead a complex and nuanced picture of the sponsored documentary in flux.

Patrick Russell and James Piers Taylor explore the reasons for the period's critical neglect, and address the sponsorship, production, distribution and key themes of British documentary. They paint a vivid picture of institutions - from public bodies to multinational industries - constantly redefining their relationships with film as a form of enlightened public relations. Many of the issues that these films addressed could not be more topical today: the rise of environmentalism; the balance of state and industry, individual and community; a nation and a world travelling from bust to boom and back again.

In the second part of the book, contributors from the curatorial and academic world provide career biographies of key film-makers of the period. From Lindsay Anderson's lesser-known early career to neglected film-makers like John Krish, Sarah Erulkar, Eric Marquis and Derrick Knight, a kaleidoscopic picture is built up of the myriad relationships of artist and sponsor.

Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-War Britain 1951-1977

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Shadows of Progress is a landmark collection, bringing together for the first time over 14 hours of film material preserved in the BFI National Archive, telling the previously untold story of British documentary filmmaking through the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

As Britain emerged from the Second World War, new social, political and ideological challenges brought about inevitable and far-reaching change. With change came a need to look at, and engage with, the country's people and places, values and industries in fresh and exciting ways.

Out of the shadows cast by such celebrated documentarians as Humphrey Jennings and Paul Rotha (whose work is explored in Land of Promise), emerged the likes of John Krish, Eric Marquis and Derrick Knight, each of whom employed bold and distinctive new techniques in order to tackle an increasingly diverse array of subjects.

Until now, the films and filmmakers in this collection have been unjustly overlooked and under-appreciated. And yet the films presented here - commissioned by private industry, commercial sponsors, Government departments and independent charities - are every bit as inspired, ground-breaking and indispensable as anything produced by the Free Cinema or British Documentary Movements.

Disc 1 - The Island
* David (Paul Dickson, 1951)
* To Be a Woman (Jill Craigie, 1951)
* The Island (Peter Pickering, 1952)
* The Elephant Will Never Forget (John Krish, 1953)
* Sunday by the Sea (Anthony Simmons, 1953)
* Henry (Lindsay Anderson, 1955)
* Foot and Mouth (Lindsay Anderson, 1955)
* Birthright (Sarah Erulkar, 1958)
* They Took Us to the Sea (John Krish, 1961)
* Faces of Harlow (Derrick Knight, 1964)

Disc 2 - Return to Life
* Thursday's Children (Lindsay Anderson & Guy Brenton, 1954)
* There Was a Door (Derek Williams, 1957)
* People Apart (Guy Brenton, 1957)
* Return to Life (John Krish, 1960)
* Four People (Guy Brenton, 1962)
* A Time to Heal (Derrick Knight, 1963)
* Time Out of Mind (Eric Marquis, 1968)

Disc 3 - The Shadow of Progress
* Three Installations (Lindsay Anderson, 1952)
* The Film That Never Was (Paul Dickson, 1957)
* Stone Into Steel (Paul Dickson, 1960)
* From First To Last (Anthony Simmons, 1962)
* People, Productivity and Change (Peter Bradford, 1963)
* Shellarama (Richard Cawston, 1965)
* Picture to Post (Sarah Erulkar, 1969)
* The Shadow of Progress (Derek Williams, 1970)

Disc 4 - Today in Britain
* Today in Britain (Peter Hopkinson, 1964)
* I Think They Call Him John (John Krish, 1964)
* Portrait of Queenie (Michael Orrom, 1964)
* Education for the Future (Derrick Knight, 1967)
* Tomorrow's Merseysiders (Eric Marquis, 1974)
* Time of Terror (Eric Marquis, 1975)
* The Shetland Experience (Derek Williams 1977)

Extra: Perspectives on documentary filmmaking (2010)

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#2 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:51 am

antnield wrote:The BFI's four-disc 'sequel' to Land of Promise now up for pre-order at Play.com. Release date given is the 15th November.

Details of the same-titled book have also emerged online, release date given as 8th October
Although I obviously have to declare an interest as one of the twelve authors mentioned above, I'm thrilled that this massive project is finally edging closer to being unveiled to the public, and inordinately proud to have been a part of it (however peripherally).

A truly phenomenal amount of work has gone into this - unlike the situation with Land of Promise, where many of the films were already well established as canonical, virtually all these titles are largely unknown, as are the filmmakers behind them. Which is why a full-scale book (400+ pages) was researched and written at the same time that the DVD was being compiled, as there was a far greater need to contextualise everything. (I was sent a PDF of the whole book when asked to proofread my chapter, and it's riveting stuff).

Anyway, regardless of how good individual GPO/COI/BTF/NCB collections may have been, this is by far the most important BFI documentary release of the last few years, and the one that we hope will have the greatest long-term impact. The BFI is attempting nothing less than urging a comprehensive rethink of three decades' output of a significant branch of British film history - previously, if non-specialists thought about postwar British documentaries at all, the chances are that their frame of reference didn't stretch much further than Free Cinema and British Transport Films.

I'll post a list of titles as soon as I'm given the green light.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#3 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:04 am

Although I am usually loathe to clog up the forum with drool I have to say what with this collection, the Ozus, Quays and blu Edge of the World this is a stellar year for bfi titles. Now if only a bumper hamper of Humphrey Jennings could join this happy breed.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#4 Post by Wu.Qinghua » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:12 am

Hihi ... While reading the first two postings I was wondering whether Jennings would be mentioned in the next one. And alas ...

Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting "Shadows of Progress"' release. DVD only, I assume? I don't know if you can give any information on this package at the moment, Michael, but: Can you make some vague comments whether there will be a significant amount of films dealing with empire, race & migration in this set?

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antnield
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Re: Shadows of Progress

#5 Post by antnield » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:28 am

Here's the contents for the book, though the chapter headings prove a little vague in terms of pointing towards the DVDs contents and their subject matter other than being able to discern various directors (Peter Pickering, Michael Orrom, Anthony Simmons, John Krish, Eric Marquis, etc.)
Acknowledgments
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Whatever Happened to the Documentary Movement?
PART ONE: BETWEEN THE TIDES: MAPPING POST-WAR DOCUMENTARY
The Long Tail
Documentary Culture: Groupings, Gatherings and Writings
Films Nobody Sees?: Distribution and Exhibition
Production
Sponsorship
Themes
PART TWO: THE NEW EXPLORERS: CAREERS IN POST-WAR DOCUMENTARY
Introduction
People, Productivity and Change: P.Bradford & T.Boon
The World Still Sings: J.Howells & D.Berry
'I Don't Thing He Did Anything Else: P.Dickson & L.Enticknap
Conflict and Confluence: Michael Orrom & K.McGahan
Documentary on the Move: T.Thompson, B.Mason, G.Jones & S.Foxon
Pictures Should Be Steady: J.Hill & J.Piers Taylor
Less Film Society - More Fleet Street: P.Hopkinson & J.Piers Taylor
Science and Society: P.Noemanville, S.Erulkar, R.Cranston & K.McGahan
Shooting the Message: J.Krish & P.Russell
Who's Driving?: P.Pickering & P.Russell
The Passing Stranger: A.Simmons & M.Brooke
Meet the Pioneers - Early; L.Anderson & E.Hedling
A Person Apart: G.Brenton & R.Cranston
Tracts of Time: D.Williams & P.Russell
Savage Voyages: Eric Marquis & R.Vick
Between Two Worlds: D.Knight & B.Hogenkamp
Index

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#6 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:35 pm

You can certainly get a sense of which directors are represented on the DVDs, but you're right that you won't be able to glean much else from the book. The DVD box will come with its own booklet, containing the usual comprehensive notes on each individual film (I've written two myself, so you can take this as gospel).

As for the book... well, my own contribution consists of a comprehensive overview of Anthony Simmons' life and career, dealing with his entire documentary output in depth, with a minimum of several hundred words per title, and most of the other chapters run along very similar lines. But only two of Simmons' films will be featured in the DVD box (Sunday by the Sea, 1953; From First to Last, 1962), with a third (No Short Cut, 1964) to be included on the fourth COI volume. Similarly, a number of John Krish's films have appeared on various BFI volumes already, as have Peter Pickering's (he was an employee of the National Coal Board for much of his career, so is heavily represented on the NCB volumes).

In other words, no attempt has been made to emphasise particular titles just because they're distributed by the BFI (Simmons' Bow Bells, for instance, is an extra on Odeon's release of Four in the Morning), though of course one of the aims of the box set is to fill in significant gaps in the current catalogue.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#7 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:23 pm

Oh, and just to clear up any confusion in the book description above, here's a reformatted version of the second half to clarify the distinction between author and subject:
PART TWO: THE NEW EXPLORERS: CAREERS IN POST-WAR DOCUMENTARY
Introduction
People, Productivity and Change: Peter Bradford by Timothy Boon
The World Still Sings: Jack Howells by Dave Berry
'I Don't Thing He Did Anything After That': Paul Dickson by Leo Enticknap
Conflict and Confluence: Michael Orrom by Katy McGahan
Documentary on the Move: Tony Thompson, Bill Mason, Geoffrey Jones by Steven Foxon
Pictures Should Be Steady: James Hill by James Piers Taylor
Less Film Society - More Fleet Street: Peter Hopkinson by James Piers Taylor
Science and Society: Peter de Normanville, Sarah Erulkar by Ros Cranston & Katy McGahan
Shooting the Message: John Krish by Patrick Russell
Who's Driving?: Peter Pickering by Patrick Russell
The Passing Stranger: Anthony Simmons by Michael Brooke
Meet the Pioneers - Early Lindsay Anderson by Erik Hedling
A Person Apart: Guy Brenton by Ros Cranston
Tracts of Time: Derek Williams by Patrick Russell
Savage Voyages: Eric Marquis by Rebecca Vick
Between Two Worlds: Derrick Knight by Bert Hogenkamp

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antnield
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Re: Shadows of Progress

#8 Post by antnield » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:24 am

Image

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#9 Post by RossyG » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:45 am

Aw, what a lovely photo. The lighting is magical. I really cannot wait to get my hands on this set and the accompanying book.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#10 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:04 pm

A really fascinating follow up to the superb LAND OF PROMISE - really look forward to this one....

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#11 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:53 pm

I'm in. But, um...any chance for a Blu-ray?

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#12 Post by jamie_atp » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:32 pm

I'd imagine the cost of scanning all of these to be suitable for that format would be prohibitive considering the amount its likely to sell?

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#13 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:38 pm

I can't imagine this being that much more restrictive (and certainly not less likely to push copies) than Jeff Keen.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#14 Post by MichaelB » Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:24 pm

It's definitely DVD only.

What follows is educated guesswork, but I'd be surprised if I was too wide of the mark when I say that:

1. The BFI routinely telecines to HD or better these days, though this is more for preservation reasons than specifically to provide sources for Blu-ray mastering.  (Many of the HD masters will be screened at BFI Southbank in the accompanying season.)

2. This is a four-disc set - a Dual Format release would be decidedly unwieldy.

3. With the Jeff Keen set, two of the discs were identical across both DVD and Blu-ray versions (there being no point in mastering Keen's resoundingly lo-fi video work to HD), thus achieving economies of scale.  

4. With the Keen films, Blu-ray makes a significant difference in terms of being able to appreciate the texture of the film (not least Keen's subsequent physical interference with some of the prints).  By contrast, with very few exceptions - the 70mm-sourced Shellarama being the most obvious one - the films on Shadows of Progress arguably wouldn't benefit from an HD presentation to anything like the same extent.

5. Every BFI documentary release to date has been on SD DVD. I'd hazard a guess that the overwhelming majority of the target audience for this and similar packages is not made up of HD buffs, and that there has not been a measurably significant demand for Blu-ray versions - or at least not enough to justify the increased production cost.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#15 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:15 am

Wu.Qinghua wrote:I don't know if you can give any information on this package at the moment, Michael, but: Can you make some vague comments whether there will be a significant amount of films dealing with empire, race & migration in this set?
The only subjects covered by "a significant amount of films" are industrial processes and health initiatives - which isn't that surprising when you consider what proportion of British postwar documentaries were funded by large industrial corporations.

I haven't seen everything in the set yet, but glancing down the list of titles I'd say that John Krish's Return to Life (1960) is the only film that's explicitly about migration, though Peter Hopkinson's Today in Britain (1964) explores Britain's contribution to the development of the multi-racial Commonwealth alongside its more general celebration of British achievements.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#16 Post by broadwayrock » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:41 am

What film(s) made Shadows of Progress get a 15 certificate? (assuming that's the final rating). Land Of Promise was exempt from classification.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#17 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:47 am

Two of the Eric Marquis films contain violent images that were judged to have breached the bounds of the usual BBFC exemption for documentaries. One has a graphic scene of self-harming, while another shows footage of the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#18 Post by antnield » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:53 am

Illuminations Blog previews the set and BFI Southbank season. Nice to hear that this set will finally see the BFI releasing John Krish's The Elephant Will Never Forget, a title I mentioned (and requested) in pretty much every one of my DVD Times reviews for their British Transport Films' volumes.

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#19 Post by Jonathan S » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:51 am

The Elephant Will Never Forget was one of the first films we saw on the university film course I started in 1979. Our tutor (head of the department and British himself) declared it to be just about the only British film - of any type or period - he admired. I don't know if he's changed his mind since but at the time I believe he was perfectly sincere. He was (is) one of the 1960s "Movie" magazine critics who (collectively) then rated directors such as Powell, Lean and Reed as merely "competent or ambitious" along with the likes of Ken Annakin and Guy Hamilton - and two categories below the "very talented" Hugo Fregonese (an often admirable director, I agree, but...)

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#20 Post by MichaelB » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:14 am

And here are the individual titles <drumroll>:

Disc 1: The Island

David (Paul Dickson, 1951, 38 mins) - Screenonline
To Be A Woman (Jill Craigie, 1951, 18 mins)
The Island (Peter Pickering, 1952, 25 mins)
The Elephant will Never Forget (John Krish, 1953, 10 mins) - Screenonline
Sunday by the Sea (Anthony Simmons, 1953, 13 mins) - Screenonline
Henry (Lindsay Anderson, 1955, 4 mins)
Foot and Mouth (Lindsay Anderson, 1955, 20 mins)
Birthright (Sarah Erulkar, 1958, 25 mins)
They Took Us To The Sea (John Krish, 1961, 26 mins)
Faces of Harlow (Derrick Knight, 1964, 30 mins)

Disc 2: Return to Life

Thursday's Children (Lindsay Anderson & Guy Brenton, 1954, 20 mins)
There Was a Door... (Derek Williams, 1957, 30 mins)
People Apart (Guy Brenton, 1957, 36 mins)
Return to Life (John Krish, 1960, 29 mins) - Screenonline
Four People (Guy Brenton, 1962, 41 mins)
A Time to Heal (Derrick Knight, 1963, 40 mins)
Time Out of Mind (Eric Marquis, 1968, 38 mins)

Disc 3: The Shadow of Progress

Three Installations (Lindsay Anderson, 1952, 23 mins)
The Film That Never Was (Paul Dickson, 1957, 30 mins)
Stone into Steel (Paul Dickson, 1960, 37 mins)
From First to Last (Anthony Simmons, 1962, 30 mins)
People, Productivity and Change (Peter Bradford, 1963, 44 mins)
Shellarama (Richard Cawston, 1965, 14 mins) - Screenonline
Picture to Post (Sarah Erulkar, 1969, 23 mins)
The Shadow of Progress (Derek Williams, 1970, 26 mins) - Screenonline

Disc 4: Today in Britain

Today in Britain (Peter Hopkinson, 1964, 19 mins)
I Think They Call Him John (John Krish, 1964, 28 mins)
Portrait of Queenie (Michael Orrom, 1964, 46 mins)
Education for the Future (Derrick Knight, 1967, 10 mins)
Tomorrow's Merseysiders (Eric Marquis, 1974, 25 mins) - Screenonline
Time of Terror (Eric Marquis, 1975, 18 mins)
The Shetland Experience (Derek Williams, 1977, 27 mins)

Links are to the BFI's filmographic database, which usually includes a short description, plus more detailed Screenonline pieces where available.

Extras include recently-filmed interviews with some of the filmmakers, plus a 100-page booklet with context-setting programme notes on each individual film (more than usually essential with a collection like this), introductory essays and recollections. Contributors include, alongside the writers mentioned above who also contributed to the tie-in book, Lord David Puttnam and historian Dominic Sandbrook.

Total running time is 830 minutes (!).

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#21 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:19 am

Simply superb!

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#22 Post by RossyG » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:44 am

Fabulous! I'm particularly excited about the Lindsay Anderson films. I've got the excellent Thursday's Children on the Criterion If.... DVD but I've never seen the other three.

Time of Terror and Tomorrow's Merseysiders sound terrific as well and it's great to see John Krish so well represented. Can't wait!

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#23 Post by antnield » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:16 am

For those who cannot wait until November I highly recommend Patrick Russell's 100 British Documentaries from BFI Publishing. A handful of the above titles are included amongst his selections and a number of the filmmakers are mentioned, albeit far more briefly, no doubt, than in the forthcoming book(s). Morevoer, his selections help place these particular British documentaries in the wider context - his choices extend from 1890s to the 2000s, cover both film and television, and touch on the various key filmmakers, film units and televisual documentary strands. It certainly whets the appetite for a project such as Shadows of Progress and beyond. (I even purchased 1953's cinematic record of the coronation, A Queen is Crowned, as a result - and despite Russell describing it as "often excrutiangly dull"!)

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#24 Post by JAP » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:27 pm

MichaelB, thanks for the specs and the links. Another locked pre-order for the BFI! :D

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Re: Shadows of Progress

#25 Post by MichaelB » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:23 am

Most of its contents have already appeared in this thread, but here's the official press release:
Shadows of Progress
Documentary Film in Post-War Britain 1951 – 1977


Released as part of the BFI’s Boom Britain campaign, this 4-disc set features 32 films, and is accompanied by a 100-page book, in a deluxe presentation box. Shadows of Progress is the companion to the BFI’s acclaimed DVD Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930 – 1950, (reissued on 15 November).

Shadows of Progress is a landmark collection, bringing together for the first time over 14 hours of film material preserved in the BFI National Archive, telling the previously untold story of British documentary filmmaking through the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

As Britain emerged from the Second World War, new social, political and ideological challenges brought about inevitable and far-reaching change. With change came a need to look at, and engage with, the country's people and places, values and industries in fresh and exciting ways.

Out of the shadows cast by such celebrated documentarians as Humphrey Jennings and Paul Rotha (whose work is explored in Land of Promise), emerged the likes of John Krish, Eric Marquis and Derrick Knight, each of whom employed bold and distinctive new techniques in order to tackle an increasingly diverse array of subjects.

Until now, the films and filmmakers in this collection have been unjustly overlooked and under-appreciated. And yet the films presented here – commissioned by private industry, commercial sponsors, Government departments and independent charities – are every bit as inspired, ground-breaking and indispensable as anything produced by the Free Cinema or British Documentary Movements.

Highlights include:

* To Be a Woman (1951) – an argument for equal pay looking at women’s place in society;
* The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953) – an emotive farewell to London’s last tram;
* the Oscar-winning Thursday's Children (1954) – a gentle and considered look at educational provision for deaf children;
* Portrait of Queenie (1964) – a celebratory portrait of Queenie, blues singer and landlady of an East London pub;
* Time Out of Mind (1968), a startling, stylistic documentary about mental health;
* The Shadow of Progress (1970) a multi-award-winning documentary about the environment.

This set includes new filmed interviews with some of the directors, and a 100-page illustrated book containing new introductory essays, notes and recollections. Contributors include Lord David Puttnam and historian Dominic Sandbrook.

Boom Britain is a major BFI project which also includes:

* From 8 November: screenings and events at BFI Southbank of a selection of films
* New BFI book Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-War Britain edited by Patrick Russell & James Piers Taylor, published by Palgrave Macmillan
* Touring programme in cinemas nationwide: A Day in the Life: Four Portraits of Post-War Britain by John Krish
* We Can Work It Out: New permanent collection in BFI Mediatheques around the UK

Release date: 15 November 2010
RRP: £34.99 / cat. no. BFIV825 / 15
UK / 1951-1977 / b&w, and colour/ 830 mins / various aspect ratios
Land of Promise reissue: RRP £34.99 / cat. no. BFIVD756 / E
UK / 1931-1950 / b&w, and colour / 720 mins + 60 mins approx extra material / ratio 1.33:1
There's also a dedicated page on the BFI website that includes a one-minute trailer featuring material from the Shadows of Progress collection.

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