This film is part of Free

No Tumbled House

A home movie of a school - made by pupil Michael Grigsby who would became one of Britain's best documentary makers.

1955 58 mins Silent


This film portrait of Abingdon School in Oxfordshire is doubly fascinating: a glimpse into 1950s public school life and the juvenilia of a great filmmaker. Pupil Michael Grigsby (1936-2013) headed the school photographic society and was the driving force behind this film and its companion piece Ut Proficias (also on BFI Player). He went on to become one of our greatest film and television documentary makers.

The director's many masterpieces as a mature filmmaker include Enginemen (1959), A Life Apart (1973) and Living on the Edge (1987). There are few obvious similarities between these poetic, socially conscious documentaries and his school home movies – except a palpable enthusiasm for diving in and exploring the film medium (look out for some fun trick photography). Other Abingdon alumni include actor Tom Hollander, politician Francis Maude and all five members of Radiohead. In 2004, partly inspired by the rediscovery of the 1950s films and with the blessing and initial mentoring of Grigsby himself, the School set up a new Abingdon Film Unit. It has produced over 100 films, mostly documentary and animation. Several have been shown at film festivals here and abroad.