By Pat Jackson

This memoir is an strange contribution to the historical past of movie and cinema. At its centre is the tale of the making of the British movie vintage Western methods, the 1st tale documentary in Technicolor, completely enacted via amateurs. It was once nominated for the simplest movie from any resource Oscar.

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Additional resources for A Retake Please!: Night Mail to Western Approaches

Example text

O. It is a horrifying experience to hear your voice for the first time as others hear you. I sounded like some Oxford pimp on the prowl, and never having been to Oxford, I should know. Benjamin Britten’s five instrumentalists, chosen by him, of course, recorded his score and he conducted as each section of the film was projected. 10. He was delighted, for he, quite rightly, felt he had put his foot, not into it, but into a new world that might lead to greater things. He was quite right, for a year or so later he was given the score for a Hollywood epic starring Anne Harding and Basil 31 A Retake Please!

Even if he didn’t get a degree he would learn how to concentrate through enforced essay writing. During a visit to the unit at Mousehole, Grierson saw my French homework on the table of the digs I was sharing with Harry and his wife Lulu. I was doing a correspondence course with Wolsey Hall, trying to make up for the loss of my school years. Grierson, so Harry told me, was impressed that I was making some sort of effort and magnanimously suggested that when the film was finished I should take three months off on my pay of thirty shillings a week, go to France and get a better command of the language.

The film was a crashing bore, a disaster. I don’t know whether it was ever shown. A. So, Harry had not only to redeem the unit’s reputation so far as this section of the civil service was concerned, but advance his own theories of how to go about this rather precious documentary film thing. He was getting sick and tired of too much intellectualising: too much of this dialectic materialism that everyone was on about, to coin a contemporary phrase. K. Everyone who thinks at all is bound, at some stage of their lives, usually early on, to be radical, very radical.

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