Crown Film Unit

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The Crown Film Unit was an organisation within the British Government's Ministry of Information during the Second World War; until 1940, it was the GPO Film Unit. Its remit was to make films for the general public in Britain and abroad. Its output included short information and documentary films, as well as longer drama-documentaries, as well as a few straight drama productions.

Music was an important element. The conductor Muir Mathieson was the director of music for many productions, and notable composers commissioned to write original scores included Walter Leigh, Benjamin Britten, Ernst Meyer, Richard Addinsell, Benjamin Frankel, Christian Darnton, Guy Warrack and Arthur Benjamin.[1]

The Crown Film Unit continued to produce films, as part of the Central Office of Information (COI), until it was disbanded in 1952.

Notable productions[edit]

The True Story of Lili Marlene (1944), directed by Humphrey Jennings
Title Year Notes
Royal Scotland 1952 Oscar-nominated documentary
Mary's Birthday 1951 Animation by Lotte Reiniger
Out of True 1951 Directed by Philip Leacock
Daybreak in Udi 1949 Directed by Terry Bishop, Oscar-winning documentary
School in Cologne 1948 Directed by Graham Wallace, short film in the British Zone of Germany
Worth the Risk? 1948 British road safety public information film
Instruments of the Orchestra 1946 Scored by Benjamin Britten, later published as The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
A Defeated People 1946 Directed by Humphrey Jennings, filmed in Occupied Germany
A Diary for Timothy 1945 Directed by Humphrey Jennings, written by E. M. Forster, featuring Michael Redgrave, Dame Myra Hess and John Gielgud
Two Fathers 1944 Directed by Anthony Asquith, written by V. S. Pritchett, starring Bernard Miles and Paul Bonifas
Western Approaches 1944 Docufiction directed by Pat Jackson, Crown Film Unit's first Technicolor production
The Silent Village 1943 Directed by Humphrey Jennings
Before the Raid 1943 Directed by Jirí Weiss, written by Laurie Lee
Fires Were Started 1943 Directed by Humphrey Jennings
The True Story of Lili Marlene 1944 Directed by Humphrey Jennings, featuring Marius Goring and Lucie Mannheim
Coastal Command 1942 Directed by J.B. Holmes
A Letter From Ulster 1942 Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst
Listen to Britain 1942 Directed by Humphrey Jennings, featuring Dame Myra Hess and Flanagan and Allen
Malta G.C. 1942 Directed by Eugeniusz Cekalski and Derrick De Marney, narrated by Laurence Olivier
Target for Tonight 1941 Directed by Harry Watt, winner of Special Award Certificate from AMPAS
The Heart of Britain (also known as This Is England) 1941 Directed by Humphrey Jennings, narrated by Edward R. Murrow
Men of the Lightship 1940 Directed by David MacDonald
Musical Poster Number One 1940 Written and directed by Len Lye


External links[edit]