British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Look At Life

Dates
1959 - 1969
Category
Cinemagazine - Entertainment
History
Look at Life emerged in vibrant Eastman colour from the ashes of two newsreels, Gaumont British News and Universal News, which had been rationalised out of existence by the Rank Organisation in November 1958. The combined forces of falling cinema audience figures and the new dynamic force of television news had forced Rank to re-think its presentation of the news within the cinema programme. The result was a ten-minute news magazine that became the weekly pre-feature staple for millions of Odeon cinema-goers for a decade until its demise in 1969. Taking its cue from the successful re-launch of Pathe Pictorial as a colour series in 1955, Rank melded a topical magazine format with a more in-depth ‘documentary’ approach of a single story using ‘direct speech and natural sound.' When the first issue of Look at Life, MARRAKESH was released in March 1959, it was hailed in the trade journals as an ‘exciting venture in film journalism’ and Rank announced this new innovation would have ‘a more lasting impact than the present ephemeral newsreel content.' It was a popular formula but one that remained frozen in time while television led audiences into a documentary world that had more grit and less glamour. By 1969 Rank could no longer ensure the survival of this series that had, by this time, simply become part of the furniture.
Provenance
The data for this series has been compiled from Look At Life listings held at the BUFVC, the on-line BFI database and the DVD ‘Look at Life Swingin’ London’. The release dates are slightly problematic in that if the evidence for the start date and end dates is correct, only around 51 issues were released each year. Since it is difficult to place where this odd week might have been although it is likely it was over Christmas, the release dates are restricted to only the year.

Films in this series can be obtained from:

Film Archive

Name
Reuters Archive Licensing: Screen Ocean
Email
info@screenocean.com
Web
http://reuters.screenocean.com/
Phone
+44(0)1954 262052
Address
124 Horseferry Road,
London
SW1P 2TX
Notes
British Pathe Ltd (qv) also handles the Reuters Historical Collection, which includes the British Paramount, Empire British, Gaumont Graphic and Gaumont British newsreels.
Series held
View all series held by Reuters Archive Licensing: Screen Ocean
Name
British Film Institute (BFI)
Email
For BFI National Archive enquiries: nonfictioncurators@bfi.org.uk For commercial/footage reuse enquiries: footage.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://collections-search.bfi.org.uk/web
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7580 7503
Address
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN
Notes
The BFI National Archive also preserves the original nitrate film copies of British Movietone News, British Paramount News, Empire News Bulletin, Gaumont British News, Gaumont Graphic, Gaumont Sound News and Universal News (the World War II years are covered by the Imperial War Museum).
Series held
View all series held by British Film Institute (BFI)

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