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A Diary for Timothy (1945)

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This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration ... See full summary »



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Title: A Diary for Timothy (1945)

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A tribute to the courage and resiliency of Britons during the darkest days of the London Blitz.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Harry Watt
Stars: Quentin Reynolds, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother


Complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Myra Hess ...
Herself (pianist) (as Dame Myra Hess)


This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration explains to "Timothy" what his family, his neighbors, and his fellow citizens are going through as the war nears its end, and what problems may remain for new Englishmen like Timothy to solve. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Documentary


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Release Date:

27 December 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dziennik dla Tymoteusza  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Contains the only filmed record of John Gielgud performing the role of Hamlet in full costume and makeup, as he was actually doing onstage at the time that this short subject was filmed. See more »


Narrator: [last lines]
[addressing Tim, 6 months old]
Narrator: Well, dear Tim. That's what has been happening around during your first six months - and you see, it was your only chance that you were safe and sound. Up to now, we've done the talking but before long, you'll sit up and take notice. What'll you going to say over it? And what are going to do? You'll have more grandiose things ahead - unemployment after the war, and then another war, and then more unemployment! Will it be like that again? Are you going ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Frederick Allen is not listed in the written credits, but he does announce his own name ("This is BBC News read by Frederick Allen"). See more »


Piano Sonata No.23 in F Minor Opus 57, Appassionata
Performed by Myra Hess
At The National Gallery, London, Tuesday October 10, 1944
See more »

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User Reviews

A rather poetic film extolling the future and socialism.
29 September 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a short film about the young life of Timothy--a child born in 1944 as well as European events of this and the following year (to almost the end of the war). No mention is made of the war in the Pacific--that is a bit odd.

Apparently, this short film has fallen into the public domain and I found a copy online. I would love to know more about the origins of the film--who financed it and what was the purpose for making the film. It seemed to me that the film was like an introduction to some socialist utopia the film makers envisioned for post-war Britain and the whole thing seemed to have a definite agenda. Scenes of school children singing in front of giant banners of the Soviet Union and lots of talk of Russian forces liberating Poland (though they didn't mention the slaughter of dissenters within Poland that also occurred in the process--a rather substantial omission) made me feel the film had a strong American involvement in socialist or Labor bent--very, very strong. No mention was made of assistance from the Free French and far less was said about American assistance than that of the Soviets. No mention is made of US or British assistance to the USSR (both countries fed and supplied the Russian people and military) and this does seem to show a strong bias. Perhaps the film was intended as a specific thank you and to be shown in Russia or perhaps the film makers wanted the UK to become a socialist or communist paradise as well.

Now despite the leftist leanings of the film, the quality of the short was exceptional. The narration was very lyrical in a way and was almost like a long poem to the future. And, the narration was exceptional. Obtaining E.M. Forster to write it and Michael Redgrave to narrate it is quite the pedigree. It is a lovely short film--very optimistic. It's just a shame that all the wonderful notions about this utopia never really came to be and it wasn't more balanced.

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