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

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Cast

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

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Release Date:

13 January 1936 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Courrier de nuit  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(Visatone Marconi)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shots of the interior of the carriage where the mail is sorted were filmed in a studio. An impression of movement was given by gently swinging the string that was hanging down from the top of the sorting boxes before each shot was filmed and telling the postal workers to walk with a rolling gait. See more »

Quotes

Commentary: [Reciting W.H. Auden poem] Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder, Shovelling white steam over her shoulder, Snorting noisily as she passes, Silent miles of wind-bent grasses. Birds turn their heads as she approaches, Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches. Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course; They slumber on with paws across. In the farm she passes no one wakes, But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes...
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Connections

Featured in Full Steam Ahead: Episode #1.4 (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Utopia, 1936-style
28 May 2002 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

This film was made by the General Post Office (GPO) an organisation that has seen many manifestations and name changes since 1936. It depicts a near-utopian world populated by chirpy proletarians working through the night to sort and deliver the mail. The technology is ancient, steam trains, hand trolleys, manual sorting. Bags of unsorted letters are hung on the side of the railway line and caught by a mechanical grab as the train passes. Bags of sorted letters are similarly hung out of the train and caught in a net as it flashes by. The impression was given of extreme efficiency but I was struck by the lack of controls. If a bag missed the net, probably no-one ever noticed until it was found months later half-eaten in a field full of sheep along the railway line. The photography was excellent with lots of silhouettes against the night sky. The sound quality in the print I saw was poor but the dialogue given to the plucky workers was clunky anyway and largely not worth hearing. The voice giving the commentary had to be heard to be believed. My favourite character was the manager in a suit who wandered amiably down the train dispensing dubious advice. Some things never change. Night Mail is largely remembered today because of Benjamin Britten's and WH Auden's collaboration on the film but their contribution is limited to a brief section at the end.


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