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A Diary for Timothy (1945)

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 »

Director:

Humphrey Jennings

Writer:

E.M. Forster (commentary)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Redgrave ... Narrator (voice)
Myra Hess Myra Hess ... Herself (pianist) (as Dame Myra Hess)
John Gielgud ... Hamlet
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Documentary

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diario para Timoteo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Crown Film Unit See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film contains the dialogue between Hamlet (performed by John Gielgud) and The Gravedigger (performed by George Woodbridge) in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", on stage then at the Haymarket Theatre, Haymarket, St. James's, London. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Featured in How We Used to Live (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A very evocative film indeed - Emotional poetry
27 July 2010 | by Ilpo HirvonenSee all my reviews

In the history of cinema, the history of documentary is very interesting and when talking about the subject and the United Kingdom, people cannot leave two names alone; Basil Wright and Humphrey Jennings. Basil Wright directed The Song of Ceylon, which was a shocking description of UK's colonial possessions. Then Humphrey Jennings made many propaganda films during the WWII, the most well known of them are Words for Battle (1941), which was a poetic picture of England, read by Laurience Olivier. Listen to Britain (1942), which used sound as narrative it didn't use commentary tracks at all when describing one day in London, and many see it as one of the finest documentaries ever made. Then last but not least A Diary for Timothy (1945), which is a very evocative pacifistic propaganda film.

The production of Humphrey Jennings is fascinating, he never followed the same scheme. For instance in Words for Battle (1941) a famous actor read the poetic commentary for the film, in Listen to Britain (1942) he didn't used commentary at all only the sound and music. Then A Diary for Timothy achieves to bring something completely new once again. It's dedicated to a boy called Timothy who was born on 9.3.1944, the fifth anniversary day of WWII. The documentary shows the world around Timothy, what happens in it, in what kind of place young Timothy will grow up. The poetic commentary of the film is like an essay read an actor, an essay tied to emotional situation.

A Diary for Timothy is pure cinematic poetry, only few have reached, and if talking about the history of documentary, only Jean Vigo and Humphrey Jennings. It is an evocative documentary, which calls us to make a change. The film is existentialistic, it highlights the experience of an individual during the time which wasn't the time of existentialism, people believed in communality. But A Diary for Timothy managed to light a new spark of hope in the people.


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