British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

James Humphries ("Jimmy / Jim")

Profile

Death
c.1965
Dates
1920-1964
Role
Cameraman
Newsreels / Cinemagazines
Gaumont Graphic; Gaumont British News; Topical Budget; National News; British Movietone News
Search
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Notes
It is possible that Jimmy Humphries was the ‘Mr. Humphrey’ of Topical Film Company who was one of four newsreel cameramen to cover the surrender of the German Fleet in November 1918, but this was more probably Robert Humfrey.

Career

In 1920 Jimmy Humphries was working for Gaumont as a cameraman on the Gaumont Graphic, although this may only have been in a freelance capacity, for in 1920 and 1921 a cameraman named ‘Humphreys’/ ‘Humphries’ worked for the Topical Budget as part of their camera team on major events. These included the burial of the Unknown Warrior for Topical Budget No.481-2 of November 1920, and the opening of Parliament for No.495-1 of February 1921. In 1932 the ‘Kine Year Book’ listed Jimmy Humphries as a cameraman for Gaumont British News, and this listing continued until 1936, when a publicity photograph showed him at work on top of one of the company’s camera cars. In October 1937 it was reported that Humphries was to be one of the cameramen on a new newsreel called the National News, where he would also ‘process the news production.' The first issues appeared that month, but production was quickly suspended, and the National News folded in February 1938 when its camera gear was put up for sale.

Humphries later joined Movietone, where his first credit is for ‘ANTI-INVASION PLANS REHEARSED BY GUARDS’ in British Movietone News No.592A of October 1940. Humphries also provided ‘MORE ‘JERVIS BAY’ SHIPS HOME’ for No.599A in November 1940. Gerald Sanger [qv], Movietone’s editor, also recalled ‘some amazing pictures of fired buildings, walls crashing and firemen working amid a blazing inferno turned in by Dick Harris [qv] at Plymouth in March 1941 and by Jim Humphries in Liverpool.' Humphries also provided ''LEASE AND LEND’ IN OPERATION’ for British Movietone News No.624 of May 1941, and ‘ARMY DRIVERS’ TEST AT THE DOUBLE’ for No.647A in October 1941. He was regularly employed as a Movietone cameraman from March 1942 onwards. In October 1945 Humphries filmed the arrival of former POW’s at Liverpool, for ‘FREE AND HOME AGAIN’ in British Movietone News No.853A, and when Reg Sutton [qv] joined Movietone in 1946, Humphries was acting as northern representative for Movietone, stationed in New Brighton.

Humphries was still entered under this address in the Movietone staff list for October 1951. In January 1952 Humphries was in the camera team that covered ‘THE END OF THE FLYING ENTERPRISE’ for British Movietone News No.1180, and went out in a small boat with Hilton Craig [qv] to film the arrival of the tug bringing the captain ashore. Humphries continued providing northern stories until January 1962, when he moved south, to the new Movietone offices at Rank Laboratories in Denham. Humphries continued to provide film for Movietone until at least June 1964, when his last credited story was ‘THE GIRL WITH ‘THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN’' in British Movietone News No.1828. Humphries died in about 1965.

Sources

NFTVA photograph: World Film News, October 1937, p.35, ‘Newsreel Rushes’: Cine-Technician, October-November 1937, p.146, ‘Newsreel’; March-April 1938, p.220, ‘Newsreel’; July-August 1949, p.111: BUFVC, British Paramount News files, Number 1017 (Humphries’ rota dopesheet November 1940), Number 1066 (Humphries’ rota dopesheet May 1941), Number 1525 (Humphries’ rota dopesheet, 8/10/1945): J. Ballantyne ‘Researcher’s Guide to British Newsreels Vol.I’ (1983), pp.38, 92: NFTVA, Luke McKernan’s biographical index of Topical Budget staff: BUFVC, T. M. Gallacher, ‘Additional Notes,' October 1998.

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