Alfred A. Tunwell ("Alf")

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Newsreels / Cinemagazines
PatheGazette; British Movietone News; International Review; Pathe News
Search for all stories where Alfred A. Tunwell is credited
An audio interview with Tunwell conducted by Ralph Bond in 1962 is now held as part of the BECTU history project, recording number 113. The NFTVA has documentation relating to Tunwell’s Telenews stories. There is a photograph of Tunwell in Kinematograph Weekly, 14/1/1943, p.41.


Alfred Tunwell joined the film industry as a cameraman in 1911, and claimed to have ‘turned for most firms, especially Samuelson and British Lion.' He worked for G.B. Samuelson during the first world war, and afterwards did some freelance camerawork, being in the Pathe Gazette camera teams that filmed ‘THE GRAND NATIONAL’ for No.1384 in March 1927, ‘THE CUP FINAL 1929’ in No.1602 of April 1929, and ‘THE DERBY’ for No.1613 in June 1929. When British Movietone News began in 1929 Tunwell joined them as cameraman. In 1935 Tunwell made a twenty-minute BBC broadcast about being a newsreel cameraman, in the series ‘Other Men’s Jobs,' and he also wrote an article about his experiences entitled ‘Thrills are All Part of My Day’s Work.' Tunwell appeared in front of the camera in ‘HRH THE DUKE OF YORK MAKES FILM WITH MOVIETONE CAMERA’ in British Movietone News No.323 of August 1935. He was also shown on top of a camera truck in ‘LORD MAYOR’S SHOW’ in British Movietone News No.440A of November 1937, and on a camera car in ‘MOVETONE’S LATEST MOBILE UNITS’ in British Movietone News No.496 of December 1938.

Tunwell remained with Movietone after the outbreak of war in September 1939, and was accredited to the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. In March 1940 Tunwell is known to have covered one London assignment with Movietone sound engineer Derek Stiles [qv]. He also filmed the London Blitz, which began in August 1940, and it seems that Tunwell also acted as a sound engineer on at least one assignment in July 1941, working with cameraman Jack Cotter [qv]. During 1941 and 1942 Tunwell filmed various home front stories, such as ‘BOMBS ON BIRMINGHAM’ in British Movietone News No.687 of August 1942. In the same month Tunwell filmed interviews with Canadian soldiers returned from the raid on Dieppe, for ‘DIEPPE’ in British Movietone News No.690A. By 1943 Tunwell was reportedly working with the army, but he continued to cover home front stories such as ‘THE DERBY’ for British Movietone News No.733A of June 1943. Tunwell remained with Movietone after the war, filming stories such as ‘OXFORD WIN FIRST POST-WAR BOAT RACE’ in British Movietone News No.878 in April 1946, and ‘THE DERBY’ in British Movietone News No.940 in June 1947.

Early in 1949 Tunwell became the chief cameraman in the newly-formed London bureau of the American Telenews newsreel, which was owned by the Hearst organisation. At first the bureau was boycotted by the other newsreels, and Tunwell complained ‘that in eight months of operation ‘Telenews’ has been unable to obtain a single item of film shot under ‘Royal Rota’ arrangements.' However, in 1950 Telenews seems to have come to an agreement with Movietone, whereby they issued a British version of the Telenews reel, called the International Review and re-edited from the American version with the addition of ‘spot news coverage from the London bureau.' In January 1952 Tunwell appears to have employed Ben Hart [qv] on at least one Telenews story. In May 1953 it was noted that ‘Alf Tunwell of Telenews’ was one of the cameramen who covered the collision of the Channel ferry ‘Duke of York.' In March 1960 ‘Tunwell’ was credited in the camera team that filmed ‘THE GRAND NATIONAL’ for Pathe News No.60/26, and in August 1962 the same credit appears for ‘SIR WINSTON BACK HOME’ in No.62/68.


Kine Year Book 1930, p.329, ‘Alfred A. Tunwell’: [Newcastle] Sunday Sun, 27/1/1935, p.16, A. A. Tunwell ‘Thrills Are All Part of My Day’s Work’: Cine-Technician, October-November 1937, ‘Newsreel’: BUFVC, British Paramount News files, NR 9502 (6/3/1940), Number 1090 (rota dopesheet, 21/7/1941), Number 2316 (Read dopesheet, 6/5/1953), Number 2368 (Len Dudley dopesheet, 7/1/1952): M. A. A. Sinkins ‘A Salute to the Newsreel Cameramen,' Kinematograph Weekly, 14/1/1943, p.41: A.Tunwell ‘Newsreel monopoly - Personal Statement,' Impact, Spring 1949, pp.24-6: Kine Weekly, 23/11/1950, p.3, ‘Granada Project Sidesteps Newsreel Issue’.

Production Doc

Here is an example of one of Alf Tunwell’s dopesheets.

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