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The Projection of Britain
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.- Foreword .- Sir Christopher Frayling.- PART One: ARGUMENTS, IDEAS, ISSUES 1 John Grierson and the Lost World of the GPO Film Unit Jeffrey Richards.- 2 The GPO Film Unit and 'Britishness' in the 1930s Scott Anthony.- 3 GPO Films and Modern Design Yasuko Suga.- 4 Old Industry, New Science? The GPO Film Unit between Palaeotechnology and Neotechnology Timothy Boon.- 5 An Archivist's Perspective on the Work of the GPO Film Unit Steven Foxon.- PART TWO: FILM-MAKERS 6 Alberto Cavalcanti: Lessons in Fusion at the GPO Film Unit Charles Drazin.- 7 Harry Watt: on Land, at Sea and in the Air Amy Sargeant.- 8 Humphrey Jennings: The Customs of the Country Michael McCluskey.- 9 Portrait of an Invisible Man: The Working Life of Stewart McAllister, Film Editor Dai Vaughan.- 10 Job in a Million: Evelyn Spice at the GPO Barbara Evans.- 11 The Joy of Drooling: In Praise of Len Lye Kevin Jackson.- PART THREE: KEY DOCUMENTS FROM THE HISTORY OF THE GPO FILM UNIT.- PART FOUR: AESTHETICS.- 12 Rhythm, Modernity and the Politics of Sound; James G. Mansell.- 13 Voiceover/Commentary Martin Stollery.- 14 National Identity, the GPO Film Unit and their Music E. Anna Claydon.- 15 Technology the GPO Film Unit Leo Enticknap.- 16 Modern art and Design in 1930s Britain: Contexts and Legacies of the Documentary Film Paul Rennie.- PART FIVE: THE GPO FILM UNIT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS CULTURE PART SIX: FILMS.- 17 'Go the way the material calls you': Basil Wright and The Song of Ceylon Jon Hoare.- 18 The Horsey Mail: Documentary as Landscape David Matless.- 19 The GPO at Play: What's On Today and Spare Time Richard Haynes.- 20 The Silent Village: The GPO Film Unit Goes to War Wendy Webster.- 21 Visualising the World: The British Documentary at Unesco Zoe Druick.- 22 Counterpoints and Counterparts: Film at the Post-war GPO Patrick Russell.- PART SEVEN: THE GPO FILM UNTI AND THE MODERN POST OFFICE Postscript Roy Mayall.- Filmography.- Notes on Contributors .- Index.

Promotional Information

Read an article about the book by the University of Cambridge: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/letters-through-a-lens/ 'The output of the GPO Film Unit was immensely varied, at times truly experimental and often exceptionally enjoyable. And now there's a truly terrific book to draw together much of the debate about these films and to stimulate further thinking...[It is] beautifully designed and contains such a wonderful range of striking pictures from the 1930s...one of the book's strengths is its firm grounding in the history and culture of the 1930s, even as this is interpreted and understood from the perspective of the early twenty-first century. There are reprints of key documents about this history and a number of compelling visual essays, as well as a fascinating essay by Steve Foxon about the restoration of the films.' - John Wyver, Illuminations 'Certainly, it's hard to think of a better single-volume survey.' - Michael Brooke, Sight & Sound 'This beautifully produced volume is dedicated to the memory of the director Pat Jackson (1916-2011) and is a fitting tribute to his achievements...The Projection of Britain is, like the GPO Film Unit itself, a bold, fascinating, eccentric and ambitious endeavour...this is a fine tribute to an exciting and influential cultural project, and an essential companion to the films now available in lavishly packaged anthologies from the BFI.' - David Collard, Times Literary Supplement 'The book is handsomely produced...In general, the 22 essays in The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit contribute to a vast literature on the documentary film movement in Britain, and perhaps represent a return to a celebration of its achievements after years of more sceptical evaluations.' -D. L. LeMahieu, Twentieth Century British History 'Each section [of the book] invites the reader to wonder at a new aspect of the GPO Film Unit's history, and then these questions are either answered or deepened by the following sections. This structure also allows the reader to dip in and out; many of the chapters make excellent teaching resources. This book is therefore an excellent primer, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, for the GPO Film Unit's history. This structure is complemented by the variety of voices represented in the line-up of authors...The diversity of author and background creates a vibrant portrait of the far reaching cultural significance of the GPO Film Unit at the time. The ingredients that hold this all together, and makes this book spectacularly attractive for tutors, are the sections containing reproduced historical documents. Part three of the book is practically a course reader, with contributions from Hardy, Reiniger, Sussex, Wright and Watt.' - Dafydd Sills-Jones, British Universities Film & Video Council

About the Author

SCOTT ANTHONYis a journalist andhistorian basedatChrist's College,Cambridge.He is the author of Public Relations and the Making of Modern Britain (2011) and Night Mail in the BFI Film Classic series (2007).

JAMES G. MANSELL is an historian and lectures in Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is the author of the forthcoming book Sound and Selfhood in Early Twentieth-Century Britain.

Reviews

Read an article about the book by the University of Cambridge: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/letters-through-lens/ -- University of Cambridge
The output of the GPO Film Unit was immensely varied, at times truly experimental and often exceptionally enjoyable. And now there's a truly terrific book to draw together much of the debate about these films and to stimulate further thinking...[It is] beautifully designed and contains such a wonderful range of striking pictures from the 1930s...one of the book's strengths is its firm grounding in the history and culture of the 1930s, even as this is interpreted and understood from the perspective of the early twenty-first century. There are reprints of key documents about this history and a number of compelling visual essays, as well as a fascinating essay by Steve Foxon about the restoration of the films. -- Illuminations * John Wyver *
Certainly, it's hard to think of a better single-volume survey. -- Sight& Sound * Michael Brooke *
This beautifully produced volume is dedicated to the memory of the director Pat Jackson (1916-2011) and is a fitting tribute to his achievements... The Projection of Britain is, like the GPO Film Unit itself, a bold, fascinating, eccentric and ambitious endeavour...this is a fine tribute to an exciting and influential cultural project, and an essential companion to the films now available in lavishly packaged anthologies from the BFI. -- Times Literary Supplement * David Collard *
The book is handsomely produced...In general, the 22 essays in The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit contribute to a vast literature on the documentary film movement in Britain, and perhaps represent a return to a celebration of its achievements after years of more sceptical evaluations. -- Twentieth Century British History * D. L. LeMahieu *
Each section [of the book] invites the reader to wonder at a new aspect of the GPO Film Unit's history, and then these questions are either answered or deepened by the following sections. This structure also allows the reader to dip in and out; many of the chapters make excellent teaching resources. This book is therefore an excellent primer, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, for the GPO Film Unit's history. This structure is complemented by the variety of voices represented in the line-up of authors...The diversity of author and background creates a vibrant portrait of the far reaching cultural significance of the GPO Film Unit at the time. The ingredients that hold this all together, and makes this book spectacularly attractive for tutors, are the sections containing reproduced historical documents. Part three of the book is practically a course reader, with contributions from Hardy, Reiniger, Sussex, Wright and Watt. -- British Universities Film & Video Council * Dafydd Sills-Jones *

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