Born in Suffolk on 19 August 1907, Humphrey Jennings is widely considered one of Britain’s greatest documentary filmmakers, directing films which beautifully evoke everyday heroism in times of war and peace. He created WWII propaganda films that were also art, and his best films were done between THE FIRST DAYS (1939) and A DIARY FOR TIMOTHY (1945). LISTEN TO BRITAIN (1942), a collage of the various people and classes of Britain, was nominated for an Academy Award.
OVID is proud to present a selection of his films from this period.
The First Days
Directed by Humphrey Jennings, Harry Watt & Pat Jackson • Documentary • 1939 • 23 minutes
Sunday 3 September, 1939. The day begins peacefully with people going to church or to the country, but at 11.15am Neville Chamberlain broadcasts from 10 Downing Street the news that Britain has declared war...
London Can Take It
Directed by Humphrey Jennings & Harry Watt • Documentary • 1940 • 10 minutes
Humphrey Jennings and Harry Watt’s famous film, produced at the GPO film unit, is an enduring example of British self-mythology and rousing evidence of the artistic potential of supposed propaganda. A hymn to the Britis...
Listen to Britain
Directed by Humphrey Jennings & Stewart McAllister • Documentary • 1942 • 19 minutes
Documentary, public information film, morale booster; propaganda film – all descriptions that apply to Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister's extraordinary war-time film. Using his customary combination of p...
Fires Were Started
Directed by Humphrey Jennings • Documentary • 1943 • 63 minutes
A dramatisation of the work of the National Fire Service during the Fire Blitz of the winter and spring of 1940/41.
The Silent Village
Directed by Humphrey Jennings • Documentary • 1943 • 36 minutes
The villagers of Cwmgiedd, southwest Wales, are the stars of Humphrey Jennings’ unforgettably inventive drama-doc. At Lidice, Czechoslovakia, a mining community’s entire male population was executed by the Nazis in 1942. Jennings (o...
A Diary for Timothy
Directed by Humphrey Jennings • Documentary • 1946 • 38 minutes
A diary for the first six months in the life of a baby born 3rd September 1944, illustrating events and daily life during this period of the war. Directed by Humphrey Jennings.