Shows the special train on which mail is sorted, dropped and collected on the run, and delivered in Scotland overnight.

Directors:

,

Writer:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Night Mail (1935)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Director: Herbert Smith
Stars: Henry Oscar, Hope Davy, C.M. Hallard
Documentary | Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Director: Pare Lorentz
Stars: Thomas Chalmers, Bam White
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister
Stars: Leonard Brockington, Joseph Macleod, Bud Flanagan
Drifters (1929)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A silent documentary film by John Grierson telling the story of Britain's North Sea herring fishery.

Director: John Grierson
Primary (1960)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Cinéma vérité feature that follows presidential hopefuls John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey during the 1960 Wisconsin primary.

Director: Robert Drew
Stars: Robert Drew, Hubert H. Humphrey, Muriel Buck Humphrey
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Real-life individuals discuss topics on society, happiness in the working class among others and with those testimonies the filmmakers create fictional moments based on their interviews. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch
Stars: Angelo, Nadine Ballot, Régis Debray
The River (1938)
Documentary | Short | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

This documentary short film looks at the devastating and costly problems, including seasonal flooding and erosion of precious topsoil, associated with the Mississippi River system and promotes more Federal projects to remedy the situation.

Director: Pare Lorentz
Stars: Thomas Chalmers
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov
Stars: Mikhail Kaufman
Short | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Slum conditions, slum clearance, bright new public housing.

Directors: Edgar Anstey, Arthur Elton
Stars: Councillor Lauder, Mr. Norwood, Mrs. Hill
Coal Face (1935)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Documentary showing the dangerous working conditions in a Welsh coal mining community.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
Stars: W.H. Auden, Montagu Slater
Night and Fog (1956)
Documentary | Short | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside.

Director: Alain Resnais
Stars: Michel Bouquet, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Arthur Clark ...
Engineer
...
Commentary
Stuart Legg ...
Commentary
Robert Rae ...
Senior Driver - LMS Railway
Edit

Storyline

Shows the special train on which mail is sorted, dropped and collected on the run, and delivered in Scotland overnight.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Documentary

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 January 1936 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Courrier de nuit  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Visatone Marconi)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The sound recordists equipment was unable to record a realistic sound of the mail train clattering over the joints in the track during the "two bridges and 45 beats" trackside mailbag collection sequence. Eventually they resorted to recording the sound of a model train being pushed back and forth over joints in a model railway track in time to the film of the man on the train counting the beats. See more »

Quotes

Commentary: [Reciting W.H. Auden poem] Dawn freshens, Her climb is done. Down towards Glasgow she descends, Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes, Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces, Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen. All Scotland waits for her: In dark glens, beside pale-green sea-lochs, Men long for news...
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the most important documentaries to ever come out of Britain
23 August 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

From 1933, the GPO (General Post Office) Film Unit produced many documentaries, inspired by the likes of Nanook of the North, to promote their service. The films had many talented British film-makers working for them, including the likes of Basil Wright and Alberto Cavalcanti (both on the production team here), and have recently been released in three DVD collector's editions by the British Film Institute. As well as producing some damn fine films, they are key works in understanding the mentality and living conditions of a Britain long gone, when we took pride in our work. They are both uplifting in their detail and wholly depressing given the state of Britain today. I'm only 27 and feel this way, so God knows what the old folk must think.

Night Mail follows the midnight postal train from London to Scotland, looking at various things such as the sorting room, the loading of the train, and the inspired way of collecting mail from various places by catching the bags at high speeds in a retracting net. The last ten minutes features a now famous poem by W.H. Auden, read to the music of Benjamin Britten, that is read rhythmically to the sounds of the train. Starting slow, it gradually picks up pace as the train gets faster, and ends at a breathless pace.

Finishing at around the 30 minute mark, it leaves a great impression regardless of its slight running time. As mentioned before, it manages to capture the spirit of old Britain, and of a time when our public services were actually efficient. Now, the Post Office seems to lose more mail than it delivers, and if you're lucky to catch a train that arrives on time, you have the pleasure in sitting near some gormless scumbag listening to his s**t dance music out loud, or some lazy fat single mother who won't deal with their screaming baby. But anyway, the quality of the film-making is often overwhelming for a documentary short, using interesting camera angles, lovely cinematography, and informative narration. I was surprised to see that the average user rating for this on IMDb is 6.8, considering this is one of the best, and most important documentaries to come out Britain. Ever.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?