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Night Mail

Night Mail U rating

The flagship of the GPO Film Unit's output and a cornerstone of British documentary, featuring music by Benjamin Britten and the verse of W.H. Auden.

Documentary 1936 24 mins

Overview

The flagship of the GPO Film Unit's output and a cornerstone of British documentary. Harry Watt and Basil Wright's study of the down postal express stands as a beacon for John Grierson's original purpose for documentary - to make the working man the hero of the screen. A truly collaborative effort, a coming together of many great names and those immortal lines from W.H. Auden.

There were many contributors in its two-and-a-half year conception. It is ironic that, despite the shared credit of Watt and Wright, it is the partnership of W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten that steals the limelight for this film. Almost an afterthought, developed as a way of finishing a narrative that had reached an anti-climax, it was Basil Wright that had suggested some verse to draw the film to a close. Night Mail is also available on BFI DVD.