Rachael Low

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Rachael Low (born 6 July 1923) is a British film historian best known as the author of the monumental The History of the British Film.[1][2]

The daughter of the cartoonist Sir David Low,[3] she gained her BSc in sociology and economics in 1944 from the London School of Economics,[3] and received her doctorate from the University of London in 1949. She published, in seven volumes between 1948 and 1985, The History of the British Film which examines, in exacting detail, film production in Britain from its origins in 1896 up until 1939. Low was awarded a Research Fellowship by Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge to facilitate her work on the later volumes of the series.[4]

The film critic Matthew Sweet has criticised Low's "tyrannous influence" on the writings of subsequent film historians.[5]


The annual Rachael Low Lecture was established in 2007 in her honour, as part of the British Silent Film Festival.[6]


  1. ^ Low, Rachael (ed.) The History of British Film (Volume 1): The History of the British Film 1896-1906; ISBN 978-0-415-67983-1 (2004; reprinted 6 July 2011).
  2. ^ International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004. Europa Publications. 2013. p. 341. ISBN 1136137645. 
  3. ^ a b Jeffrey Richards "Introduction" to Low's The History of British Film 1896-1906, London: Routledge, 1997 [1948], p. v
  4. ^ Rachael Low The History of the British Film, Volume V: Documentary and Educational Films of the 1930s, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1979, p. vii
  5. ^ Sweet, Matthew (2006). Shepperton Babylon. Faber and Faber. p. 103. 
  6. ^ Robinson, David. "Rachael Low Lecture: Silence is Another Country". Barbican. Retrieved 11 May 2016.