The British documentary film movement, 1926-1946 - Paul Swann



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The British documentary film movement, 1926-1946
Paul Swann
Paperback / softback
Cambridge University Press
UK Publication Date

The most important and internationally influential development in British cinema was the documentary film movement led by John Grierson in the 1930s and 1940s. Paul Swann's study is a political and social history of this movement, which was characterized by actuality-based films made outside the commercial industry. Based upon examinations of official government records, this book provides a fascinating picture of how Grierson manipulated the civil service bureaucracy both for his own ends and, in his view, for the good of his country. The documentary movement was both a socially conscious group intent upon raising the consciousness - and consciences - of viewers, and something like a film school, providing opportunities to fledgling film-makers. Working in reaction to the escapist Hollywood films that then dominated British screens, the documentary film-makers drew upon traditions such as Soviet realism and the European avant-garde and used ordinary men and women instead of actors.

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"Here is a useful one volume history of an important aspect of the history of film."
CAST/Communication Booknotes

"Swann has written a readable, concise, and well-researched history of the organizational side of the British documentary film movement...this intelligent and often critical analysis suggests the thesis that the British documentary film movement may have been overestimated in the past in regard to both its impact and its contribution to the art of film making."
Tim Travers, American Historical Review

Keyword Index
Documentary films - Great Britain - History and criticism.
Country of Publication
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