Shadows of Progress

Landmark collection telling the previously untold story of British documentary filmmaking through the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Shadows of Progress is a landmark collection, bringing together for the first time over 14 hours of film material preserved in the BFI National Archive, telling the previously untold story of British documentary filmmaking through the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

As Britain emerged from the second world war, new social, political and ideological challenges brought about inevitable and far-reaching change. With change came a need to look at, and engage with, the country’s people and places, values and industries in fresh and exciting ways.

Out of the shadows cast by such celebrated documentarians as Humphrey Jennings and Paul Rotha (whose work is explored in Land of Promise), emerged the likes of John Krish, Eric Marquis and Derrick Knight, each of whom employed bold and distinctive new techniques in order to tackle an increasingly diverse array of subjects.

Until now, the films and filmmakers in this collection have been unjustly overlooked and under-appreciated. And yet the films presented here – commissioned by private industry, commercial sponsors, Government departments and independent charities – are every bit as inspired, ground-breaking and indispensable as anything produced by the Free Cinema or British Documentary movements.

Disc one: The Island

  • David (Paul Dickson, 1951)
  • To Be a Woman (Jill Craigie, 1951)
  • The Island (Peter Pickering, 1952)
  • The Elephant Will Never Forget (John Krish, 1953)
  • Sunday by the Sea (Anthony Simmons, 1953)
  • Henry (Lindsay Anderson, 1955)
  • Foot and Mouth (Lindsay Anderson, 1955)
  • Birthright (Sarah Erulkar, 1958)
  • They Took Us to the Sea (John Krish, 1961)
  • Faces of Harlow (Derrick Knight, 1964)

Disc two: Return to Life

  • Thursday’s Children (Lindsay Anderson & Guy Brenton, 1954)
  • There Was a Door (Derek Williams, 1957)
  • People Apart (Guy Brenton, 1957)
  • Return to Life (John Krish, 1960)
  • Four People (Guy Brenton, 1962)
  • A Time to Heal (Derrick Knight, 1963)
  • Time Out of Mind (Eric Marquis, 1968)

Disc three: The Shadow of Progress

  • Three Installations (Lindsay Anderson, 1952)
  • The Film That Never Was (Paul Dickson, 1957)
  • Stone Into Steel (Paul Dickson, 1960)
  • From First To Last (Anthony Simmons, 1962)
  • People, Productivity and Change (Peter Bradford, 1963)
  • Shellarama (Richard Cawston, 1965)
  • Picture to Post (Sarah Erulkar, 1969)
  • The Shadow of Progress (Derek Williams, 1970)

Disc four: Today in Britain

  • Today in Britain (Peter Hopkinson, 1964)
  • I Think They Call Him John (John Krish, 1964)
  • Portrait of Queenie (Michael Orrom, 1964)
  • Education for the Future (Derrick Knight, 1967)
  • Tomorrow’s Merseysiders (Eric Marquis, 1974)
  • Time of Terror (Eric Marquis, 1975)
  • The Shetland Experience (Derek Williams 1977)

Special features

  • Perspectives on documentary filmmaking (2010).

Product information

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    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

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