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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 an excerpt from Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, known as "Appassionata", performed by Myra Hess, after we are shown the wall poster announcing it as "5th Birthday Concert - Tue Oct 10 1 o'clock", one of the many daily concerts the lady pianist gave at The National Gallery, London, beginning the very day WWII was declared. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [addressing Tim, 7 days old] Did you like the music that lady was playing? Some of us think it is one of the greatest musics in the world. It's German music, and we are fighting the Germans. That's something you'll have to think about later on.
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

Fanfare for the wartime common man.
3 February 2002 | by shrbwSee all my reviews

'Diary for Timothy' is that most precious thing - a snapshot in time of ordinary people, their hopes and aspirations. It is considered by many to be Jennings's masterpiece.

The film is constructed around the first year of life for a baby, born in the closing stages of the war. There are two radical elements that distinguish this from his previous films. Firstly, the very literate narrative, written by E.M. Forster, no less! Secondly, the characters who appear are allowed to speak for themselves, almost in the form of soliloquy. Here are the voices of Britain, and one is reminded of Chesterton's poem in that they 'have not spoken yet'.

The mood of the film is very subtle. Although not strident, it and the characters in it argues the necessity for a better world and a fairer society (anticipating the Labour landslide).

What is really poignant is the realisation that many of these hopes have not been realised.


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