The Silent Village: The GPO Film Unit Goes to War

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In a 1954 essay, Lindsay Anderson wrote: ‘It might reasonably be contended that Humphrey Jennings is the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced.’ Many subsequent writers have endorsed Anderson’s view that a hallmark of Jennings’s work was its ‘poetic style’. His verdict that Jennings’s best work was produced during World War II is also widely shared, with considerable agreement on which wartime films were his finest – Listen to Britain (1942) and Fires Were Started (1943) feature in most lists, including Anderson’s. Within this literature The Silent Village (1943) is rarely discussed at any length. Those who offer brief mentions of the film reach different views. Anderson himself was not a fan: ‘For all the fond simplicity with which he sets the scene, the necessary sense of conflict and suffering is missed in his over-refined, under-dramatised treatment of the essential situation.’ Angus Calder, on the other hand, calls the film ‘a neglected masterpiece’....
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Projection of Britain
Subtitle of host publicationA History of the GPO Film Unit
EditorsScott Anthony, James G. Mansell
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherBritish Film Institute
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781839020445, 9781839020438, 9781838710446
ISBN (Print)9781844573745, 9781844573752
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

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