British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Night Mail (Remastered and Restored)

Synopsis
One of the most critically acclaimed and iconic films produced within the British documentary movement, NIGHT MAIL tells the story of the travelling post office from Euston to Glasgow and the men who worked on it. Given a modest budget of only £2000 and conceived as a routine film promoting Post Office services, the collective talents of the GPO Film Unit turned out an ambitious and inventive fusion of image, sound, music and poetry that became an instant classic and archetype of the genre. The memorable final section of the film, featuring Benjamin Britten’s innovative score and verse by WH Auden, timed to the rhythms of the train is justly famous, and perhaps the most lyrical final sequence in the history of documentary film.

The DVD from the BFI is a remastered and restored version and the 93 minutes of extras in this collector’s edition include four short films and a booklet featuring an essay by writer and poet Blake Morrison. These are: THE WAY TO THE SEA (UK, 1936) Features verse by Auden and music by Britten; SPOTLIGHT ON THE NIGHT MAIL (UK, 1948);THIRTY MILLION LETTERS (UK, 1963); NIGHT MAIL 2 (UK, 1986) (updated version of Night Mail featuring poetry by Blake Morrison); Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Blake Morrison and film composer Miguel Mera, Benjamin Britten diary extracts and more
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of production
1936
Notes
NIGHT MAIL is combined on the video from SHE with DRIFTERS and on the DVD from Panamint with WEST HIGHLAND
Documentation
BFI Film Classics book Night Mail by Scott Anthony, published 2007
Uses
Courses in film and history - development of documentary film; possibly courses in transport studies.*
Subjects
Film studies
Keywords
documentary films; GPO; poetry; postal services; railways

Credits

Director
Basil Wright; Harry Watt
Writer
W H Auden

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 2 PAL
Price
£15.99 (BFI) £19.99 (Panamint)
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
24 minutes (BFI + 92 minutes extras)
Year
2007

Type
VHS
Format
PAL
Price
£12.95 (SHE)(Panamint) £15.45 PO)
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
24 minutes
Year
2005

Production Company

Name

GPO Film Unit

Distributor

Name

BFI Video

Email
video.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7957 8957
Fax
020 7957 8968
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
Name

Panamint Cinema

Email
cinema@panamint.co.uk
Web
http://www.panamint.co.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
01505 834936
Address
Abercorn Schoolhouse
Whitequarries
Broxburn
West Lothian, Scotland
EH52 6PZ
Name

Simply Media

Contact
Laura Smith
Email
info@simplymedia.tv
Web
http://www.simplymedia.tv/ External site opens in new window
Phone
0203 542 3722
Address
Highlight House
57 Margaret Street
London W1W 8SJ
Notes
Formerly known as DD Home Entertainment or DDHE

Record Stats

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