January 2, 2017


A Diary for Timothy – 1945 | 40mins | Documentary | B&W


Plot Synopsis

A Diary for Timothy

Humphrey Jennings Crown Film Unit documentary A Diary for Timothy is constructed entirely to a pattern of relationships and contrasts, endlessly varying, yet each one contributing to the rounded poetic statement of the whole picture. Set during the last year of the war, as it was lived through by people in Britain, the star of the film is a baby, Timothy Jenkins, and it is to him that the film is addressed. There is a deep humanity here – Michael Redgrave�s narration captures the tone of E.M. Forster’s commentary perfectly, and its final sequence is one of the most moving scenes in all cinema.

Representative characters are picked for the celluloid diary, Tim himself and his mother, an engine driver, a farmer, a Welsh miner and a fighter pilot. But the story is by no means restricted to scenes involving these; with dazzling virtuosity, linking detail to detail by continuously striking associations of image, music and comment, the film ranges the life of the nation. National tragedies and personal tragedy, individual happiness and particular beauty woven together in a design of the utmost complexity: the miner is injured in a fall at the coal face, the fighter pilot gets better and goes to his unit, the Arnhem strike fails, Beethoven at the National Gallery, John Gielgud performing in Hamlet, the fall of Germany, and Tim yawns. Such an apparently haphazard selection details could mean nothing or everything difficulty of writing such a film.

Production Team

Humphrey Jennings: Director
Fred Gamage: Cinematography
Richard Addinsell: Original Music
Basil Wright: Producer
EM Forster: Script
Ken Cameron: Sound Department
Jock May: Sound Department

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