Charlotte Jennings

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Work area/craft/role: 
Interview Number: 
Interview Date(s): 
17 Dec 1990
13 Nov 1997
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Born 1935, Blackheath. Father working at GPO Film Unit studios. Evacuated with mother and sister Mary Lou to the USA, sponsored by wealthy Great Aunt who sent both children to the Doulton School, which she describes. They lived with the aunt on Park Avenue until her mother got a small flat on Lexington. She remembers a dinner party given by her mother for a rather tall man (Len Lye). They returned to the UK in October 1944: she describes what it was like travelling in a very slow convoy, disembarking at Avonmouth, from where they went to live with her maternal grandmother near Oxford. In 1947 they moved into the top floor of a house in Regent’s Park Road owned by Alan Hutt. She talks about her new school, the South Hampstead High and of how little they saw of her father. She then gives her account of how she understood her father died in a very tragic accident on 24th September 1950.

She also relates her own ventures into film making with animations, but her real interest remains in painting. She also relates a prophetic story told her by Dillon Barry, the Continuity Girl on Family Portrait , made for the 1951 Festival of Britain, when she told Humphrey Jennings who had just tripped and fallen, to “slow down”. His reply was “I haven’t time!”   



[David Robson writes as follows:]

This was the second of two interview sessions. The first one occurred in 1990; this one was recorded in 1997.

The summary is not in its usual form, because the tribute is so concise that nothing could be gained by highlighting any particular sequence. The brevity is such that it would pay the reader to listen to side 3 in its entirety.


It commences with a verbatim report of a tribute to her father, Humphrey Jennings, presented to students of Murdock University, Western Australia in 1997, and covers his life and achievements as a documentary film maker from the date of his birth in 1907 to his tragic and untimely death on a tiny Greek island in 1950 at the age of 43.

Charlotte reveals some interesting glimpses of the GPO Film Unit during the run-up to the 1939 War. The film Spare Time, 1939 is mentioned. His work as a painter in the Surrealist movement is also mentioned.

There is also a reference to him being awarded the OBE after the war, possibly for his total contribution. The award was sent to him by post, eschewing the Palace investiture. The following films are mentioned: Spring Offensive, Words for Battle, Listen to Britain, Fires were Started, Diary for Timothy, Family Portrait, Silent Village, A Defeated People and Cumberland Story.


More on Cumberland Story – the last one he made at Crown. Although fully charged up, it is said that he did not talk about his work at home. But on one occasion he tried to shoot a scene for Family Portrait at home against the family’s wishes; the film is discussed in detail. Several other of the films are also analysed. His relationship with his editor is discussed.


The films that nearly got made, but did not, are discussed. The London Symphony Orchestra and its first fifty years was one such. A number of films about music were being planned at this time but lacked funding. Details of Humphrey’s funeral and the lack of finances and how they affected the family are explained.


In conclusion the last words are from Jennings himself in the form of two poems. The first one entitled I See London, and the second, As I Look.

Comment: Many of his colleagues, it was said, considered that the best of his work lay ahead of him. But he surely needed a revolution to bring it about. If his life had encompassed the Falklands War, who knows what realms of poetic imagery might have been achieved arising phoenix-like, as it were, from the ashes of Fires Were Started.

Charlotte Jennings was interviewed by John Legard. David Mather Robson recorded it and wrote the summary.



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It provides a basic, but unverified or proofread transcript of the interview. Therefore, the British Entertainment History Project (BEHP) accepts no liability for any misinterpretation of the content of this interview.

However, the BEHP wants to make every effort to improve the quality of these transcripts and would welcome any voluntary offers to proofread this and/or other interviews. If you want to help, please contact BEHP Secretary,

Alan Lawson  0:00  
The copyright of this recording is vested in the actt history project.Charlotte Jennings, artist, daughter of Humphrey Jennings, the documentary film director, poet, and artist,recorded on the 17th of December 1990. side one interview, Alan Lawson Well was was not, you know, when, when and where were you born?

Charlotte Jennings  0:39  
 I was born in Blackheath, London in August of 1935.

Unknown Speaker  0:47  

Unknown Speaker  0:48  
did you have any schooling before you were evacuated?

Unknown Speaker  0:53  
Not that I can really remember, although,

Unknown Speaker  0:57  
obviously was some kindergarten year. But yeah, I left for the States. In September of 1940. You left Eastern. This is my mother. And my sister Mary Lou and I left us in an air raid and took the train to Glasgow, and got on a ship called the Cameroonian

Unknown Speaker  1:22  
which was in convoy with evacuees

Unknown Speaker  1:26  
to New York, and took us 10 days

Unknown Speaker  1:30  
to get to New York with outside land. It was actually torpedoed and sunk on its return journey.

Unknown Speaker  1:39  
And before before we start talking about, you know, the the evacuation things

Unknown Speaker  1:46  
have, have you gotten the early memories of your father john,

Unknown Speaker  1:51  
before you went, went? Yes. I'm afraid not happy ones. We, we moved about quite a lot. The reason

Unknown Speaker  2:04  
the reason it got what I mean that I was born in Blackheath was that

Unknown Speaker  2:10  
my sister been born two years before she was born in Cambridge, and parents married and I'm 29. And

Unknown Speaker  2:19  
both sides of those pet sets of parents and my mother and my father totally disproved the marriage, because my father was getting one pound a week in the price of a postgraduate scholarship. And my mother who came from the world to do successful engineering engineers, family cover off of marrying somebody who was broke continuous. So then they work came down from Cambridge, I think, painted furniture.

Unknown Speaker  2:53  
And it was Stuart leg who was the coming of the second child who had the family

Unknown Speaker  3:00  
suggested that money would wouldn't come and miss. And they introduced him to Grierson to pa to prison to the GPO Film Unit. And so we moved out to black keys as well close the location of the GPO.

Unknown Speaker  3:15  
So I see that's why that's why I was for

Unknown Speaker  3:19  
it again, the Stuart leg. This is this is your father knew him at Cambridge? That's correct. Yes. What did Stuart do then at Cambridge? What was his studying do?

Unknown Speaker  3:32  
I sink out on that he was studying history, but don't help me too. And your father, he was studying English, for which he got

Unknown Speaker  3:43  
Oh, first class honours was special. He mentioned in the two part Dr. Boss.

Unknown Speaker  3:49  
He also distinguished himself as an athlete. He equally he had success as an actor, and as a stage designer for sets and costumes at the arts Theatre in Cambridge.

Unknown Speaker  4:06  
Certainly Stewart was prominent at the Film Society and in Cambridge, how prominent power was or how much he was involved in? I don't know. The story that I've always heard in the family was that my mother equally, was insistent that there should be some income. And she as as a young girl had a passion for Valentino. And she kept scrapbook and she suggested that power went into movies. And it because she thought it was the sort of good thing power said

Unknown Speaker  4:38  
not that I remember him actually saying it, but he was supposed to have said that he went into movies to make money. can't recall a very great deal.

Unknown Speaker  4:49  
Did your mother work when, before before we were born, she

Unknown Speaker  4:55  
she and PA at the time of Mary's birth is

Unknown Speaker  5:00  

Unknown Speaker  5:01  
say they were married in 1929. The two of them ran a monarch tried to run a modern art gallery in Cambridge, unsuccessfully, and from time to time, and she was a model

Unknown Speaker  5:15  
fashion model.

Unknown Speaker  5:18  
Didn't do what I suppose you were perhaps a bit a little bit too young to realise exactly what your father was doing, or were you or were you aware of what he was doing? And before going to the States?

Unknown Speaker  5:32  
No, I can't say that I recorded at all You asked me earlier, my earliest recollections of him. We moved from Blackheath to Holland Park.

Unknown Speaker  5:44  
Obviously, smaller rented flat, and the Windows based on to the square

Unknown Speaker  5:51  
is actually it was called St. James's square. And it's since its names change to St. James's Gardens is just off Addison Avenue. And

Unknown Speaker  6:02  
I recall being picked up by my mother and take me to the window to wave goodbye to Peppa because he was going off to work. And that's the earliest memory of always, was always sort of Goodbye, goes away for you. But

Unknown Speaker  6:18  
let's come, let's come to your

Unknown Speaker  6:21  
Yogi on time in the states whereabouts you finish up, or did you move around and know

Unknown Speaker  6:29  
my mother's family was Anglo Irish, at the turn of the century around 1900, the

Unknown Speaker  6:39  
Irish family

Unknown Speaker  6:41  
from the west of Ireland, half of them went to the states and made an absolute fortune. And the other half came in this direction, and didn't do too badly. But they weren't

Unknown Speaker  6:55  
Wilkinson's and Colgate as the American side work. And in those days, if you were evacuated, or you had to be sponsored, and

Unknown Speaker  7:07  
the cousins, second cousins once or twice removed, that we stayed with to begin with the Wilkinsons

Unknown Speaker  7:17  
work, my maternal grandmother's first cousins never in Mrs. Ed Wilkinson, was in her 60s when we arrived, and her husband had been dead some years, I imagined. So we arrived in October of 1940. And went to stay with them on Park Avenue, which my mother actually love, because while she will always be penniless, but on the other hand,

Unknown Speaker  7:47  
had come from, as I said, not too badly off family. And she wasn't really pointed out before her marriage, dressed for the parents and her father there for more money for her clothes. And he gave his wife for housekeeping. This opulence.

Unknown Speaker  8:05  
I actually found quite quite intolerable. And I can't recall how long we stayed there. Certainly through a Christmas of 1940 because I just remember as a kid going into the drawing room and this immense Christmas tree and all these prominent presents you just I mean, you wouldn't believe

Unknown Speaker  8:28  
doll's houses and you know, there's a whole there's actually quite big maps were in this was a map of the United States. And you key in to see if you've got the name of the right state and it lights up. You know, you have two lights. Oh, hi. I see if it's right.

Unknown Speaker  8:49  
All sorts of dolls and teddy bears. I mean, it was

Unknown Speaker  8:56  
we were absolutely spoiled.

Unknown Speaker  8:58  
And loved.

Unknown Speaker  9:00  
Well, yes. That was six years.

Unknown Speaker  9:05  
Five years.

Unknown Speaker  9:07  
But when you moved away, well,

Unknown Speaker  9:12  
the trees well the cost is paid for education at the Dalton school which is very, very prominent. And still is advanced co Ed private school in in Sandra of New York,

Unknown Speaker  9:31  
which was absolutely stunning. I we had we had an enormous auditorium where the theatre was carpentry there was a swimming pool. And I still have my earliest diary, because a lot of the teachers operated as secretaries. So big scrapbooks as diary with drawings who myself and it was one of the ship, the one that we sailed on together.

Unknown Speaker  10:00  
If that was camera only and rather values about matter have written with the portholes a little note by itself underneath saying it must have been a rusty ship, because I said I really ought to paint it brown, but that will look stupid. And so I'm appending violet. But apparently I was in the studio, whatever the proper classes should have been outside of the studio or doing carpentry amazing. That was taught these things at the age of five.

Unknown Speaker  10:30  
Some years back, I went to see Woody Allen's New York, New York, and it's a school the school gates there and the Dalton school. Tell me this.

Unknown Speaker  10:42  
Before you left to go to the States, had you seen your father painting or something like this? Did you? Well, I'm not that I recall at all. I it's not out of any conceit. But,

Unknown Speaker  10:54  
um, unless it has to be, I reckon genetic, because

Unknown Speaker  11:00  
no, I hadn't. I just had this absolute love.

Unknown Speaker  11:06  
For me, and I recall painting, a bunch of tulips bright red. I don't know if you know the painter Matthew Smith. Sure. You did English pay? Yes. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  11:17  

Unknown Speaker  11:20  
opulent, bunches of flowers. And I recall that this bunch of tulips, bright red are very much like Matthew Smith.

Unknown Speaker  11:32  
How long did you stay at the dolphin for the four years that we were there.

Unknown Speaker  11:38  
So we didn't leave New York are good today are going to wear two holidays as well. But

Unknown Speaker  11:48  
for a reason, which I have never been able to ascertain. And my mother, sadly, is no longer alive there. marilou been to nearly two years older than myself might well know, is the term we left New York to return to England in October of 1944.

Unknown Speaker  12:10  
And the role obviously was not over. And in looking at

Unknown Speaker  12:16  
fathers, a diary for Timothy. The commentary is absolutely patently obvious.

Unknown Speaker  12:24  
The war is not over and it won't be over by Christmas.

Unknown Speaker  12:30  
The V ones were over? Well, we came back again in convoy and this time in a really rusty tub of a ship. Totally unseaworthy for the North Atlantic during the winter.

Unknown Speaker  12:45  
This time, it took 16 days with no side land.

Unknown Speaker  12:51  
I mean, the ocean was just full of submarines. And the we're not a very young children. I was nine by this time. But there were a lot of very young children, babies and arms and three year olds, and there was a kind of matron nurse on board this little French vessel.

Unknown Speaker  13:12  

Unknown Speaker  13:15  
every time she thought that we were about to be torpedoed, she will get these young kids out of the cabins, cots in their cabins and take them up on deck. You know, one or two of them actually had pneumonia or already, and very often, what she'd seen was dolphins.

Unknown Speaker  13:36  
And the EU was a lovely story of Australia. As I said it was a French vessel, and very small. And there were two dining rooms and to begin with

Unknown Speaker  13:49  
the the parents, the adults and the children all had their meals together. And then some Richard English parents

Unknown Speaker  13:59  
decided that this French food and Matt Gollum is Chef considering the date and the circumstances was made more than a valiant effort to dish out the most marvellous mash. Well, this English parents decided that

Unknown Speaker  14:16  
wasn't armed for kids and they really ought to be having proper English food. What if you can imagine a sophisticated French chef attempting to make English food out of dried eggs with dried milk and what have you. And so we were delegated as kids into the smaller dining room. And this could be served up to us and we wrapped it up in our napkins and we used to just drag it to the seagulls. Well, on one occasion one evening, it was announced to the grown ups that the captain requested their pleasure

Unknown Speaker  14:53  
in his best full dress, evening dress as they could muster up as they all went out in the

Unknown Speaker  15:00  
Hold or whatever. And I remember my mother had a very long, very beautiful brown velvet evening dresses I'm asking

Unknown Speaker  15:08  
wherever the cheap footage he got it on. And in they went, as I said that we're now somewhere in the middle of October or thereabout.

Unknown Speaker  15:21  
The point of this dinner party was that it was dictating his birthday. So the captain and the all the tables will lead with the best plate that the ship had with crystal. And the special menu being prepared, obviously. So

Unknown Speaker  15:39  
everyone is assembled, and the captain stands and requests the guests to stand also, and do tests etc. And over just about the glasses, and a great piece.

Unknown Speaker  15:55  
And very unfortunately, whoever's lead was forgotten to put the flaps up.

Unknown Speaker  16:07  
And the chef, the chef actually had cancer and a glimpse cancer of the liver. And his wonders are before dying, he was to get back to his beloved France and the doctors in New York and said, Absolutely, absolutely unfit to travel, that he was determined. And he did and he died at sea. And I recall so vividly.

Unknown Speaker  16:31  
That burial at sea was so moving, coffin being weighed,

Unknown Speaker  16:38  

Unknown Speaker  16:39  
So we don't today even mass on the

Unknown Speaker  16:44  
is our fourth or the fifth of November

Unknown Speaker  16:48  
in an air raid,

Unknown Speaker  16:51  
and the Daily Mail, the Daily Express the tos.

Unknown Speaker  16:58  
And so this was our welcome back back home. And we took a train

Unknown Speaker  17:05  
in the blackout. I from Bristol to Oxford, where I maternal grandmother lived. She lived just between Oxford, and Banbury, and

Unknown Speaker  17:20  
and the weather was found just as you see it in kimsey. And I'll go on about that.

Unknown Speaker  17:28  
And I remember with these blinds down, and obviously mother was exhausted, but

Unknown Speaker  17:36  
his courage and we play battleships.

Unknown Speaker  17:47  
Sir, I'll go back now to the States. Well, after a while, and mother got herself a job. It was some secret work. I don't know what it was. It was for the British purchasing commission in New York. And that afforded her enough to get a small flat, which we did, which was on Lexington Avenue, overlooking the Third Avenue L which of course is not no longer there. And it was minute, there was a kitchenette. And if you've been have a bathroom it and one bedroom where Mary Lou and I slept and my mother slept in this minute setting room. But I recommend she was somewhat happier. And staying with his with the cousins. We stayed there for a couple of years and then we moved

Unknown Speaker  18:40  

Unknown Speaker  18:45  
Again, just off Lexington Avenue to 93rd Street East. And that was the street that Mark's residents had lived in some 20 years before. And we had a slightly bigger apartment

Unknown Speaker  18:59  

Unknown Speaker  19:02  
And we're still going to the dolphin is still against the dolphins, and my mother is still work. And one day

Unknown Speaker  19:11  
a gentleman came to dinner.

Unknown Speaker  19:15  
Very, very tall and mother made a special meal. And we sat down on the table. And obviously you serve your guests first. And so she said to me, and then she served us and then she said to herself and by the time she finished putting some food on our plate. The gentleman's plate was empty. That was Len lie.

Unknown Speaker  19:37  
And that call is

Unknown Speaker  19:43  

Unknown Speaker  19:48  
the holidays. And New York in frantically hot very humid during the summer. I don't recall that my mother ever left New York

Unknown Speaker  20:00  
When I was very young and if she did get away, I don't know where to the first summer ie the summer of 1941. The cousins

Unknown Speaker  20:14  
rented a small

Unknown Speaker  20:17  
I don't know what you got it well,

Unknown Speaker  20:20  
seaside vacation Little House on Cape Cod. And we went there with with Stuart legs wife and family but not Stuart.

Unknown Speaker  20:37  
All also think I'm correct in saying

Unknown Speaker  20:43  
Bix and Nancy lie, since

Unknown Speaker  20:47  
they were about that same age as a great number of children.

Unknown Speaker  20:52  
The next two.

Unknown Speaker  20:56  
Next two summers, we spent in Vermont, on a farm up in the hills there with a family who had quite a number of children. And they actually were, they were school teachers, but they had this house. And they went up there every summer.

Unknown Speaker  21:17  
Up in the maple mountains and the pine trees and there were I don't recall seeing any bears certainly deer. But there were bear rugs on enormous marble floors because the side of the margin would be blasted out marble.

Unknown Speaker  21:34  
Marble quarries and electric poles are beautiful models. And the full summer was spent on a camp and girls camp in New Hampshire.

Unknown Speaker  21:50  
And that was marvellous learning to ride bareback.

Unknown Speaker  21:55  
Know when you when you came back to England, where did you go for school? Well,

Unknown Speaker  22:03  
man, I had to say I don't know regret seems to have an awful lot of repeat pattern in it.

Unknown Speaker  22:10  
That seems to be an awfully itinerant really, because we arrived back at Oxford on the fifth, fifth or sixth of november of 1944. At some unholy hour and

Unknown Speaker  22:25  
one o'clock or two o'clock in the morning, to be met by

Unknown Speaker  22:30  
my grandmother's chauffeur, what his chauffeur wasn't, he was no longer really chauffeur he was he also was the garden, I did everything and lived in the village, gentlemen. But

Unknown Speaker  22:41  
of course, my mother was deeply disappointed that her husband was not there.

Unknown Speaker  22:47  
And we went to rent to this village and stay with my grandmother. And eventually,

Unknown Speaker  22:55  
sometime before Christmas, I saw for some reason I don't recall that customers. I mean, sometimes, you know, you can focus on a year of when you're young, because remember, in a particular room, or particular people gathered on Christmas table, but I don't remember that. But he he turned up.

Unknown Speaker  23:18  
But it was perfectly obvious that he was shooting Timothy, because there it is.

Unknown Speaker  23:26  
I do have to say that that particular sequence intimacy of the Christmas and the terrible fog before and Michael Redgrave is basically

Unknown Speaker  23:37  
and he said, You know that, wow, whether it rained too much in the fog, and said and then Christmas day dawned with

Unknown Speaker  23:49  
loveliness and it is the word that's used. And he was exactly like that, because I woke up on Christmas Day, and I was quite a bit guarded. And miles out in the country.

Unknown Speaker  24:04  
That was absolute magic, the hair crossed everything. It was crunchy underfoot. I was it was something unbelievable.

Unknown Speaker  24:14  
Also beautiful, that I remember very clearly. So every time I see Timothy, I say to myself, I know it was like that

Unknown Speaker  24:23  
is still about making documentaries being truthful.

Unknown Speaker  24:28  
The the the the word spoken actually were written by your father where they know they want to be in Foster. They're in foster care.

Unknown Speaker  24:39  
But you say your father came close.

Unknown Speaker  24:43  
Well, then from there, we didn't stay long at my grandmother's

Unknown Speaker  24:49  
in our retinas about February of 1945. We moved to Essex to a very small

Unknown Speaker  24:59  

Unknown Speaker  25:00  
Elizabeth and Tudor cottage which was, which was, I mean, it was just was the real thing. It was miles from anywhere. And the only school that we could go to was a convent in Bishop Stortford.

Unknown Speaker  25:15  

Unknown Speaker  25:17  
the next two or three, two years, I think it would be something like that, not more.

Unknown Speaker  25:25  
We were up at as far as six o'clock, and bicycle to get a bus or then we moved again, to nearer to the expert,

Unknown Speaker  25:36  
and bicycle to get train on the branch line sexted to Elson and change to the train to Bishop store.

Unknown Speaker  25:46  
And getting back in how to help us we'll have our plastics in the evening. It was a really pretty long haul.

Unknown Speaker  25:53  
So we lived in two places in Essex, and then and father were crammed down for some weekend, but not very much.

Unknown Speaker  26:06  
It must have been terrible for my mother.

Unknown Speaker  26:10  
I mean, it's I think it's really only enlightened life that

Unknown Speaker  26:15  
that I think that the actual real hurt the Grandmaster felt, you know, you can feel it's like the person with amputated legs, they can feel the pain of the thing that isn't there, that it really can very much

Unknown Speaker  26:32  
was he wound up when he came down? Or did it wasn't good? He relaxed when he came down?

Unknown Speaker  26:39  
Can you remember that? Well, I remember remember him in his home on army boots, digging in the garden and planting potatoes and cabbages and lettuces.

Unknown Speaker  26:52  
So that he must have come down some sometimes not at the weekend. Because I remember very clearly sitting around the radio and listening with him and splitting with after over eight rounds. It went out Thursday.

Unknown Speaker  27:10  
June I forgot, but I don't think it was a Friday or a Saturday or Sunday. Although maybe it may have been a repeat.

Unknown Speaker  27:26  
Relaxed I couldn't answer say,

Unknown Speaker  27:29  
Well, yes, he was still only What 910? Is

Unknown Speaker  27:35  
what what was your bent at school? Now in England? Did you get the chance to do

Unknown Speaker  27:42  
a while I meet we won a prize, which was through the Royal Academy of Art for for a painting. both married and I got a whole new teased for our American accents. And that is dreaded St Mary's common British Bishop Stortford. I mean, I've been out and performative for years in the States. And one of the nuns got up and said something and I didn't hear what she said. And I put up my hand and said, What,

Unknown Speaker  28:14  
and I was outside the door where you brought ACC see what it was standard practice, who said what

Unknown Speaker  28:23  
is an awful lot of fun learning to learn. And

Unknown Speaker  28:27  
I noticed in the reverse way, because my young my oldest pension went to state school in this state. So we're in Malibu, and my, my grandson was written rotten about his English.

Unknown Speaker  28:41  

Unknown Speaker  28:44  
Let's carry on. Now your your 10 love.

Unknown Speaker  28:50  
What you had you had you made up your mind, what do you wanted to do?

Unknown Speaker  28:55  
Well, I think that so many of those things were unconscious, wasn't an art studio.

Unknown Speaker  29:03  
And I must say that I had one idea of coming back to England. And that was to give my my father a great big hug and a kiss. And that was it. And I was going straight back because I had all my friends. I was like, that was my aim and object getting on that boat. None.

Unknown Speaker  29:21  
But you didn't see much of your father this particular time.

Unknown Speaker  29:26  
Where do things start to change? Or didn't they?

Unknown Speaker  29:31  
They didn't really change. We eventually.

Unknown Speaker  29:37  
We eventually in September of 1947, were reunited as a family under one roof here in London.

Unknown Speaker  29:49  
All the top floor of number eight reasons but terrorists, which was the house of Alan Hart was whose

Unknown Speaker  29:56  
father or he always wants to be called for power and

Unknown Speaker  30:00  
So let's call him footpath and had a room there during the war.

Unknown Speaker  30:05  
And he was great friends without. And you would have known Jenny, would you? Yes, indeed, yes. Jenny was living there.

Unknown Speaker  30:17  
And we have the top two floors.

Unknown Speaker  30:21  
There was a bedroom, our parents Bedroom Bedroom that marido nine shed, Kitchen Bathroom, and a sitting room

Unknown Speaker  30:30  
with a big round dining room table, which was only cleared when very distinguished people came for a meal. Otherwise, it was scattered with pain to those papers, which were mostly probably to do with pandemonium. And the

Unknown Speaker  30:48  
anthology of the Industrial Revolution, which marilu completed in his publish, completed in 1984.

Unknown Speaker  30:58  
And in a corner by window, but it was his easel and paintings that he was working on. Now, he had a perfectly good room, a few doors down to painting, but he didn't like it. And he wanted his family around him. So you saw him at work. So he would work in the evening, which meant that we had to be dead silent, which is

Unknown Speaker  31:25  
this evening, he was painting in the evening. Really? Let's talk about Yeah, relax. It wasn't pandemonium. It wasn't painting, he was on location. It was no. And

Unknown Speaker  31:38  
actually do Dylan berry whom I mentioned earlier, who was continuity.

Unknown Speaker  31:45  
At the time of father's death, it was actually with him at that accident on the island of portals.

Unknown Speaker  31:52  
Just off the coast of, of Athens, their parent, apparently they were on this little steamer and didn't got cross with him. I was like, you're always hungry in such a hurry to take it a bit more easily. And he said, I haven't time.

Unknown Speaker  32:13  
And I think this frenetic

Unknown Speaker  32:18  
I'm not suggesting that this is

Unknown Speaker  32:22  

Unknown Speaker  32:25  
mental disability that I'm sure we've all experienced, when perhaps one hasn't had enough sleep, and you've got a lot to do that things get a little bit too fast. And that one isn't quite in control. So I'm going to calm this one down. And that I do suggest that was our fault thought being such a creative person. I don't think that he was branded depression. But I do think that he was a very worried man, the folding of crown

Unknown Speaker  32:57  
After all, the piece when it did come was a very uneasy peace we couldn't say that we had won the wars that cost us a fortune and you cost us in lives. And far too intelligent and man not to realise that this was you know, as it go runway who says intimacy and does this all have to happen all over again. And as if that foreboding were there and of course, it didn't happen all over again.

Unknown Speaker  33:30  
And I suppose we can say well witness to it again here at the end of 1995.

Unknown Speaker  33:39  

Unknown Speaker  33:41  
the thing that I find interesting is

Unknown Speaker  33:46  
the GPU Did you ever think of going into films at all?

Unknown Speaker  33:53  
The answer is in a sense, yes.

Unknown Speaker  33:57  
I did.

Unknown Speaker  34:00  

Unknown Speaker  34:02  
I can't remember quite why I think probably it was out of grace. You can do things with Rome. You know, it was a bit like the paints really.

Unknown Speaker  34:13  
I have actually did do quite a few and credit titles for British transport films.

Unknown Speaker  34:25  
I've been not with father but been on location once or twice with movies.

Unknown Speaker  34:32  
I found the whole thing so tedious. Hi around waiting for a take and I thought there's an also I had the feeling you can't touch it. You know this film, you can't see it. Whereas with painting, you know you're working like okay, I don't like that and that will do that. And this. I've also done quite a lot of printmaking. So you don't really know what you got because it's a reverse process. You

Unknown Speaker  35:00  
Have you taken a call to a friend, but

Unknown Speaker  35:06  
when I think, you know, I felt as though I had

Unknown Speaker  35:09  
too many cooks spoil the broth. I also have the feeling that if the painting goes wrong, there's nobody to blame but myself. And this film, crew business and all the rest of it, no. However,

Unknown Speaker  35:28  
I have actually made two films, but they're both animation films. They have no commentary. The first one is completely abstract. It's abstract images by myself. It's called images. And it's to a work of Schoenberg's called accompaniment to film scene. And we never was a film. And I written that it was much more film treatment music. And that was made. And actually, it was made under the supervision of Bob privet at the Central School of Art on what is called a no budget. And it was made with Mondragon company, which is no longer trading, which is called r s, t. c, rosc. And rosc is the Gaelic Irish word for poetry of vision. That's the reason why it's called rustc. They also made a film,

Unknown Speaker  36:26  
a full blown production called drawn on the magic Music Man,

Unknown Speaker  36:31  
which is, oh, it's a contemporary version, similar to Britain's young person

Unknown Speaker  36:41  

Unknown Speaker  36:44  
music and words by Anthony Hopkins, and we shot this the Fairfield halls, and it actually won. It won a gold prize at the film festival and music was awesome. This is back in 1975. And

Unknown Speaker  37:02  
not being union person.

Unknown Speaker  37:05  
I didn't have quite the

Unknown Speaker  37:09  
correct credit, as opposed to being a production assistant, I was an assistant to the producer, because that was all right. I quite enjoyed that was a very funny sequence when we were doing First of all, we had to rehearse or obviously in time.

Unknown Speaker  37:24  
And as I say, it was the end it was actual kids concert halls.

Unknown Speaker  37:29  
And you know, we'd pay dlcc or GLC

Unknown Speaker  37:33  

Unknown Speaker  37:36  
I was dedicated to stand on top of the camera box and time the real concert the take. So I was standing down that that valley orchestra with a stopwatch See,

Unknown Speaker  37:49  
coming down, I was very, very fear schoolmistress etc. And she came up to me, and she said, uh, you the director here? And I see no, you're the producer. I said no.

Unknown Speaker  38:05  
More, where is the producer? And his name is Taylor kind of funny. And

Unknown Speaker  38:12  
he looked actually tell out winter, he had a big coat on, he got lucky I

Unknown Speaker  38:19  
was actually their bunnies. And I said,

Unknown Speaker  38:23  
and she said, I told you, I told him, no lights, no lights, I thought, well, I understand if I know absolutely nothing because I was gonna shoot this film. Without the lights. I don't

Unknown Speaker  38:37  
that well, that's really my own experience. And then the other animation film that I made

Unknown Speaker  38:44  
is called the big hit.

Unknown Speaker  38:47  
And the central story is a journey from Earth to the Sun. And back then. And this is literally inspired by another of the enterprises, we got up to as young kids at the doctrine that our initial science lessons were done in the gym. And when we started on the universe, the teacher would say now you, you can be the sun, and then all the planets on all the satellites. And this was setting it sort of embedded in my memory. And it was almost like the dance the gesture, and it seemed to me that you know that you want to put it put it very simply in visual terms.

Unknown Speaker  39:32  
Well, to all in order to make it a bit more plausible. It starts at

Unknown Speaker  39:40  
the outs the beginning and the end are actually live action shot at the oval Cricket Ground and creditor wax is six which takes off and all the effects were done by camera effects

Unknown Speaker  39:57  
and an actual cricket war, which was

Unknown Speaker  40:00  
photograph is superimposed photographically on the art animated artwork and it has to do with the sun that comes down again. And then the cricketer runs that catch the ball capture it because it's hot and drops it

Unknown Speaker  40:14  
both as an eight minutes long. That was actually shown at the Cambridge animation film festival. But even that I found a slog, at least I wasn't going through all the cell's slog, but it took so long internet you didn't try and do Len lies being unfair doing I tried doing that I did actually got a got a cigar box and kind of hole and made a grid and got some 35 mil film, you spooled it through, and it was having a valve on the inside, which would light up so you could see films actually called I was going to call it the metamorphosis of a tulip very simple.

Unknown Speaker  40:54  
That were of course, the inside of the box kept on heating.

Unknown Speaker  40:59  

Unknown Speaker  41:00  
registration was really good.

Unknown Speaker  41:09  
You say you did watch your father painting?

Unknown Speaker  41:16  
Because it was at an influence on you, do you think?

Unknown Speaker  41:20  
Because you know, I don't think so. By this time, we were back in London, and I went to South Hampstead High School for Girls in Nashville. And there was a big studio there. And at the age of 11, I saw my first picture. montages came up to me and said,

Unknown Speaker  41:41  
That's marvellous. Can I buy it?

Unknown Speaker  41:45  
And I was sure. And I've got three and six. That's it fortune. Can you remember what it was? Yes, it was a tree in the fog. And I remember very well sort of foggy winters in the trees without leaves. And I thought it was very like

Unknown Speaker  42:08  
and from from from Southampton define where did you go after that? Well, first of all,

Unknown Speaker  42:17  
I was at South Hampstead from

Unknown Speaker  42:22  
1940 the autumn term 1947 to July of 1942 5252 a bit apart and 52 of course.

Unknown Speaker  42:33  
And of course

Unknown Speaker  42:38  
died in this accident and perhaps I'll give you details on what what I know of this. Yeah, well, what I'll do is I think I'll turn over okay.

Alan Lawson  0:01  
Charlotte Jennings signed to you. Yes, we are. You're going to tell us about what you're watching there about your father's death?

Charlotte Jennings  0:11  
Well, I think he was making.He was not this is his work. So he was only a bit after. Yes, after the Crowne Film Unit had folded. He went with Ian Dalrymple. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  0:33  
To Wessex. And with Wessex, I'm pretty sure that as little film called done little island was made for Wessex. I mean, that would be caution on chain. I can't remember offhand that 47 or 48. In the film was made concurrent with all of that Old World Festival, which may have been its first or second year look as to what and it it's it takes for a subject the resuscitation of the arts in this country after the war. Then, again, with were six, he made a family portrait, which was

Unknown Speaker  1:34  
one of the films made for the festival of Britain at 1951. It is a scrapbook of the family. And so that was completed, must have been completed in the early part of 1950. And he then I recall, he went to Geneva for some conference to do with European recovery.

Unknown Speaker  2:08  
Now, wasn't this wasn't this luid urashima.

Unknown Speaker  2:11  
Here, you would know better than I

Unknown Speaker  2:13  
do, because they have a series of films made on that.

Unknown Speaker  2:15  
That's correct. And Father chose, I think he chose Greece. And he chose us as a subject. I think I'm correct in saying healthy for almost either to be called good health or the good life. I know that it was completed after his death, by what's his name Graham.

Unknown Speaker  2:48  

Unknown Speaker  2:51  
But I've never actually seen it. The amount of footage, that part actually shot, I don't know.

Unknown Speaker  3:04  
Well, I preface this, but the few holidays that we did spend together in August of 1950. We went to Devon or rather, mother, Mary and I went to Devon in advance and for power turned up a little bit later.

Unknown Speaker  3:26  

Unknown Speaker  3:29  
over the cliff head away from the hotel, there was a rather finer beach on the run that was immediately below. And we took a picnic. And it really was quite Sandy and lovely. And I had a passion for swimming. It was one of my interests. I was always swimming. And at the hotel, there was a family who had a couple of daughters the same age as ours. And the two sets of parents made friends. And they were sitting on the beach chatting away. And I went swimming was one of the girls from the other family. And we had to wait out the wrong way because the tide was out. We swam around and then realise that was trying to come in rather quicker than we'd expected. And we couldn't get back. And so we got back I was some rather slimy rocks and we climbed up the cliff face which had no rock on it. And waves came away on our hands. And what was i 14 climbed up to the top and you could look all the way back and then down to where the beach was. And there was a middle path winding back and says girl whose name escapes me now, she and I started walking back feeling very, very pleased with ourselves, you know, this great achievement that we'd made. And as we walked along, wherever, wherever the distance was always due to people walking towards us getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And it was her mother and my PA. And when they came close, papaw exploded after fury. So I was so angry. And finally, we finished up by saying, You must not do things like that. We always think things happen to other people. And one day, we find that to happen to ourselves. And exactly a month later, that is exactly what happened. I don't know, Cliff says it was a Sunday, Sunday, the 24th of September 1950.

Unknown Speaker  6:15  
That I'm here under barrier, we're going to an island in the Aegean for a day trip, for whatever purpose are different accounts of what they were while they were going. And then got to Paris and then inquired, which was that whole schema to take them to whichever Island it was, and I don't know which island that was. I believe, you know, Greece pretty well.

Unknown Speaker  6:52  
Not really? No, not really.

Unknown Speaker  6:55  
Well, I'm sure you know, quite well enough to know that. People on the Mediterranean were very garrulous, and they taught me and also, they have terribly disappointed if they can't answer your question will be helpful. The fact that they might give you the wrong directions to the railway station is neither here nor there. Suppose they tell you something. Then quiet of someone, which was the steamer that took them to this island. And the chap said, well, it's that one. I mean, it's got her name on the side of it. So no, as Brits with our logical minds, and they made no further inquiries, and got on it. And about midday, they arrived at the wrong Island at the island of boroughs. And obviously, the steamer wasn't there to go back to Athens until the evening. So they had what they had time to go to sprawl. Maybe they had a meal. And it's a very small island, I believe. They wandered around to the other side. And there must have been some

Unknown Speaker  8:09  
somebody else was when the most damage the cameraman, I think,

Unknown Speaker  8:12  
yeah, I think that may be maybe so and i think there must have come to some kind of a dead end.

Unknown Speaker  8:18  
I ended with some difficulty with the rock and had to go down. And Harley has told me this because still, I'm told him that I'm turned

Unknown Speaker  8:34  
to give Dylan a hand up and in so doing slipped and fell 30 feet on the rock face on his head.

Unknown Speaker  8:49  
Okay, there was no blood transfusion, which one can be unutterably grateful. And he is he is buried in the in the British Cemetery in Athens. But this also, just before he went, and I recounted how, you know, either I was here and he was there, and similarly, my mother, Mary Lou, that he'd gone so many times. That, in a sense, one one, I suppose would have become accustomed to this and sort of know more about it. He had actually slipped on a pavement in Geneva when he had gone to this meeting, and had his back and was somebody who was basically extremely

Unknown Speaker  9:47  
athletic and fit. Well, you know, it was a good holiday again, you know, All three of us mother, Mary Lou and myself had in

Unknown Speaker  10:12  
that sense of impending disaster. And I remember throwing my arms around and said, Oh, God, I wish I had never done before. As

Unknown Speaker  10:37  
well, I can say that my what my reaction was, it was just a light went out. I mean, I can't explain complete and utter emptiness. And I went to school the day afterwards. And I, you know, without tears or anything. I told her girlfriend, what happened? And she said, Oh, I don't believe you. I don't think that's true. Can't miss her. And I was so inclined to believe her. Because surely.

Unknown Speaker  11:18  
Yes, yes.

Unknown Speaker  11:20  
And I really don't recall the days after that. We never went to the funeral and the body was not playing back. And it was memorial service scholar, and then at St. Joseph's in the fields, church, there was a Greek choir. And I'm a member of the absolute heel. Because I only had my navy blue school coat. And I felt that I should be wearing black and always other people wearing black. That wasn't was known.

Unknown Speaker  12:02  
One thing I want to ask you about your father was a member of the blink society. Was he?

Unknown Speaker  12:13  
You tell me is this interesting?

Unknown Speaker  12:16  
Oh, that you did? You didn't know. I mean, that's all right. No, I mean, I know he was because the the battery evening we had. I think you had a video of it. And I send you a video to Australia. I'd love to have one. That was one. I thought there was a president. There was Dennis foreman talking

Unknown Speaker  12:39  
about Yes, I think I do. JOHN, that job sent me one but it's in store in Western Australia. Yes. I'm sorry. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  12:47  
Yeah, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker  12:48  
Now there's the the man who gave the the talk actually was from the black society.

Unknown Speaker  12:55  
On the gate, OR gate, gate, right. That would make sense. I mean, he was a great friend of the pert Kathleen rain. Who is black scholar. Said, but that's something I didn't.

Unknown Speaker  13:14  
did. Did you have anything at all to do with the underarm front? Did you get to know him down room at all? Not really.

Unknown Speaker  13:23  
I remember that. He took us out to dinner afterwards. There's a story. The painter Claude Manas said, told that he was absolutely devoted to his mother. And on her deathbed, all he could register was the colour of his or her face. And she painted this picture of this green fez. Well, my recollection of Darien was a very shy, man because he took us he took us to a meal at the Trocadero and all the waiters went round with the fares and the tassel. And all I remember was this says

Unknown Speaker  14:17  
that it all

Unknown Speaker  14:19  
did your father bringing any anything no his film people home at all? Or didn't it really didn't he bring

Unknown Speaker  14:29  
was brought.

Unknown Speaker  14:30  
I remember on one occasion, and that must have been about the time of determinantal Island or at the time of making a family portrait. No, and then I think we're in much other wouldn't have it. There was an idea that you know, family portrait being about families about the family of Great Britain, families and the history of the country. was an idea that you bring the crew into this into the flat terrace. There was a converted PML that was my piano because I played piano at school, perhaps at home could be bought from Selfridges for 40 pounds. Great extravagant. But my mother had a very beautiful voice and Marios. I'm very well. I looked at the piano, I played the piano a bit. And both Barry and I played recorders. And the idea was to have you know, sort of family setup for happy families making music. Mother, absolutely. I know those girls are not making all those cups of tea. No. And she was an extremely gentle and the shot

Unknown Speaker  15:52  
that was out.

Unknown Speaker  16:01  
I see

Unknown Speaker  16:02  
what, you know, Kenya, Kenya. Have you any kind of really lasting memory of your father? I mean, you know, vivid, lasting memory. There's, I mean, there's plenty of his poetry to be seen, I suppose. Have you gotten these paintings? Yes, I

Unknown Speaker  16:19  
do. We've got there is. A lot of them I've already sold, because he was a very prominent member of a surrealist movement. And he was on the committee of the famous writers really, internationals realist exhibition at Burlington house in 1936, along with Roland Penrose and he was also very good still photographer most of the time after that format, equals a full plate or large go device. I reckon we're done at the time of mass observation 3036 37. And at the time that he was with the GPO, as I wanted to use,

Unknown Speaker  17:17  
did he did he do for mass observation?

Unknown Speaker  17:19  
Oh, yes, he didn't.

Unknown Speaker  17:28  
But, you know, a lasting as it were visual memory of you as your father. I suppose he's rageous as you're walking towards it.

Unknown Speaker  17:41  
The same read that. If I'm a self note painter, and I'm sure that painters and artists are not easy people to live with, they're not your actual ordinary run of papaw. Or mama or brother, sister, husband or wife. I think it must have been terribly difficult marriage for my mother, terribly difficult because it really was very, very little money. And certainly, they started out devoted to each other, and the sacrifices and the roadman. That's that she she must have enjoyed. I dread to really

Unknown Speaker  18:36  
think he could be a bit of a pawn. I think that he was what you might call evidence to call or conceited. But when I look at it now, from my own stem porn, I Lowe's being interrupted when I'm working. Once you get in once I get into my work, I'm so interested in that. I'm not saying that I've got this kind of artistic temperament where was sort of an absent minded in the places chaos. I don't mean that at all. Actually, I adore order in things. But other people didn't matter terribly. And I remember he had taken us as a family, one Sunday afternoon to the National Gallery. And the only pens we were allowed to look at what was it interested in. And I was a bit miffed about this. And there was one occasion when I really fly apart from swimming. I was passionate about netball. And I was in the first second internet, we'll do what I was in the school team, and whoever we've been playing because we played all the GP DST schools And, you know, we'd won the first round and we won the quarterfinals. And we had to go out Twickenham, I think it was to play the last school in the finals, it was the end of the season, March, just before March or April, just before Easter. And all this marvellous match occurred on a Saturday morning, and I announced where I was going. And the reason why I was going that I was going was the gym mistress and the team, you know, and I expected to be back at such and such a time. Well, we went out there and got to whistleblow at the end, and it was a draw. And you can't win a cup of it's a draw. So we went into extra time, and we won.

Unknown Speaker  20:47  

Unknown Speaker  20:49  
we were absolutely jubilant, who wouldn't be great victories. So we will, I was late, I get back home at three o'clock, something like that. And I'm greeted at the top of the stairs by these monsters, the two of them. And I found that you know, that meaning said, I was just about to get it out. And Father, me says, You are not to do this ever again. You cannot upset upset your mother's food arrangements, lunch is at. And then he was you know, he would phone up at six o'clock in the evening. When of the very, very few occasions in the whole of their life, they were invited out. And to kind of be in the cutting room still. I will constantly letting people too much to their disappointment. There was one occasion, and I said, I don't want to know. And I said, well, as a matter of fact, I've been invited out to my best girlfriend who lives just off the fence you read. possible, right? She was the captain. And she was the youngest daughter of a very big family. And the family was warm and welcoming. And they had an enormous dining room with a great dining room table, which was always converted into ping pong table. You will ring up Hazel, you are not going anywhere. I must say that confused me an awful lot. Because surely on this right anything that you win something for which you get a pat on the back at least. And if the whole lot there is your only successful if you lose, or I don't know, this is this is verification. But I'm sure he'd Miss testing that he was incredibly involved in this. And but however you see when he died, there was exactly as it all started that one pound in the bank. And he could be very extravagant, because it was the best canvases and the best pens. And he wasn't saying that he didn't have exhibitions. And there were all these marvellous books. And just before he gone to Greece, gone to an antiquarian. And he bought this book of parrots, which were hand printed. This is 1950 and it costs 25 pounds. Unfortunately, mother was able to take it back to the bookshop and get it get 25 pounds. And that was a situation. And then of course, you see there was the that Memorial screening scholar in Charles Street, and it was a fun and mother was mortified. The idea of charity. It was an extremely proud woman.

Unknown Speaker  24:24  
Oh, I understand this. My mother in law was like my

Unknown Speaker  24:31  
mom, my mother was diagnosed of a malignant brain tumour in 1965. And with the modern marvels of medicine today, and even then they were able to do some kind of biopsy and enlarge the area around so it didn't grow was too much of a fact and it lasted for 10 years. But, and also, I must say that after Paul's death, you know, she hadn't been working She went to evening school and then she went to her last day of McKenna social worker, you know at the age of 44

Unknown Speaker  25:17  
when it became evident that she couldn't keep her depend independence when

Unknown Speaker  25:25  
she needed more sheltered accommodation. Just one or two nursing homes and the What do you call the cinematic the Netherlands and librans nonbelievers the actual family cinema trade

Unknown Speaker  25:43  
minimalism clan

Unknown Speaker  25:46  
was applications made by her brother who's not in the film business it's my uncle's died now. Something towards the pet some of the payment for the nursing home what Broderick immediately everything would be here. She had enough Jane was well enough to send the checks back and say I will not miss another circumstances. I think she did get a bit and then she was in hospital with no further requirement but I think Mary Lou that I know very little got power of attorney and there was so now they never saw that. This kindness was professional kindness was paying off.

Unknown Speaker  26:49  
Thank you very much. Thanks thing

Alan Lawson  0:01  
Side three. Now, Charlotte Jennings is going to give us a tribute to her father, the late Humphrey Jennings. And this is something that she addressed to the students in Australia earlier in the Charlotte Are you would you like to carry on

Charlotte Jennings  0:22  
next john. This is a tribute to Humphrey Jennings by me shot at Jennings. This address was offered to students of documentary at Murdoch, University of Western Australia on the 21st of May this year 1997. It gives me great pleasure to present to you this tribute to an of my father Humphrey Jennings, who would have been 90 this year, the tribute with a screening of three of the outstanding films he made in England during World War Two. Firstly, an outline on my father's life, thought and achievement. Then the film's giving each a brief introduction. Frank Humphrey sinkler Jennings was born in a small fishing village, the village of Walberswick, on the East Anglia and Suffolk coast in 1907. He was the elder of two sons. He died in 1950, falling 30 feet from a cliff on the Greek island of Paul Ross. He was 43. His father was an architect, specialising in the reconstruction of Tudor, and Elizabethan houses with original materials. His mother was an accomplished artist, an excellent business person, running a pottery shop in Walberswick, and later in London, the pottery was mostly French, and as a young child, Humphrey accompanied his parents on their frequent visits to France, learning on route to speak excellent French. He attended the purse school in Cambridge, and from there won a scholarship to Pembroke College, also in Cambridge, reading English literature, for which he gained first class honours in both parts of the tri pass with a mark of distinction. Throughout his school, I pick a pattern throughout high school and university days, he active in design sets and costumes for numerous stage productions. He was fluent in Greek and Latin, and also excelled as an athlete. He was well acquainted with then contemporary films of France and Russia, and probably Germany too. And he was painting also. In 1929, he married Cecily Cooper, only daughter of an Anglo Irish engineer. She had four brothers, two of whom became distinguished linguists, a talented amateur singer. She was tall, dark and beautiful, and dress from Paris. Here I should add was tall ish and slim, with ash, blond hair, and pale blue eyes. There was great opposition to the marriage from both sets of parents. He had an income of one pound a week, and she had no income at all. She hated Cambridge, very shy, she could not join in the heady lives of her husband and his colleagues and understandably, resented the poverty and making endless cups of tea, not only for the elite, but also the stream of wafting hangers on in the early days of married life, Jennings worked on several literary theses and further theatrical productions with a painter friend Julian Trevelyan, he attempted to run the Gallery of Modern Art. He was very up to date on the art scene, particularly French Irv. He was strangely handsome, and with all his brilliance, both charming and inspiring with his associates, adding to his spectral talents was that most elusive of the arts conversation, though, I guess, that it was as often as not more of a monologue than a dialogue. My sister Mary Lou four named Mary Louise was born in Cambridge in 1933. The economic situation then became even more critical, and with it came severe emotional stress. No claims could be made that Jennings was a good To adequate husband and father, though he professed that he adored his wife and two daughters, which I am sure he did. But added to his sensuality, he was unable to express his love and concern for them for us. And financially, he offered far too little support.

At some time, my mother worked as a fashion model to make ends meet. Father's painting materials were always of the best and most expensive. I don't know if he ever sold any of his paintings. During his lifetime, though he was generous in giving them away to admirers. His library was extensive, and ever augmented with up to date and rare and out of print additions. His clothes were first class, and I never saw my mother, anything but elegant, clear, tired, and we children were always beautifully dressed. Both my parents had very, I put here actually I said it. In old fashioned language, what is called good taste. I don't think it is good taste, I think they, they had an intrinsic sense of style. I think that's much more the way to express it. After father's death, mother lost something of this. But throughout her life, she maintained to this a sense of style and economy. I think this came from my personality, and not from her, excuse me, her somewhat indoor indulged upbringing.

Alan Lawson  6:41  
Was your mother rhetoric were she interested in in the cinema as well. And the same way as your produce? she sort of was interested in the work that he was there,

Charlotte Jennings  6:48  
she was a fat john, she was a fantastic cinnamon buff, and she kept scrapbooks. And he had a genuine crush on Valentino. She, she and she actually was very instrumental instrumental in suggesting that pa go into films. Really? Yes.

Alan Lawson  7:11  
This is an interesting, interesting point. So in other words, you were very influenced the cinema in your case to possibly your mother, rather than your father. And she obviously took you to the pictures when you were very small.

Charlotte Jennings  7:25  
Oh, yes. As I as I will put in, later on, no, no, what? No, I think we can put it in here that I was brought up with, with my sister, and my mother in New York during the war. And I remember seeing dad's films in New York and also being taken to see Bambi and Pinocchio Oh, yes. No, wait.

Unknown Speaker  7:54  

Charlotte Jennings  7:55  
Oh, yes. I remember very much being taken to the movies.

Alan Lawson  8:00  
Although you're sort of first experience, how old were you when when you arrived in New York, five or so rarely does he also almost your first impression. Will travelling across? course you're no longer with your father then because he he was he made?

Charlotte Jennings  8:19  
He was he was here making the wonderful films that he made. Well, the grand film in it.

Alan Lawson  8:28  
Okay, sorry.

Charlotte Jennings  8:29  
Not sorry at all. As I say she, I think this sense of style and economy came over from her personality and not from her somewhat indulged upbringing. I mean, she was the only daughter and she was very beautiful and pretty spoiled, particularly by her father. So I think it came from her personality very much. She was converted to Roman Catholicism some years after her husband's death. And she died of cancer in 1975 25 years to the day of her husband actually. She was in a way a saint, albeit, a reluctant and long suffering run. She was desperately shy and withdrawn. And with her being so tall, I mean, she was six foot one. She was very statuesque and, and I have to say somewhat flatulent as well. She hated the country. She hated bright sunlight, and with which is a curious twist in her personality, because being so shy, she adored the bright lights of London and she couldn't wait all came down to the national films The

Alan Lawson  10:02  
absorbed into it loved it it is that's what she was after all she was did have quite a lot of time in the country Isn't she in her childhood.

Charlotte Jennings  10:18  
She went to some poor school girl school where imagery host talk music. And at her father's retirement, her parents moved to to Oxfordshire, in but by this time she would have been married. I think I'm correct in saying that. In 1934, the family moved to London where Jennings was introduced to john Grierson, founder of the GPO, General Post Office Film Unit. He joined the unit as far as I can make out as an editor, and was quickly designing and directing documentary films. I went into films to make money he was later to say he never made much money. And at the time of his death, there was only the one pound in the bank with which he had started out married

Alan Lawson  11:18  
life. How did he get to meet girls in the first place? And what was the sort of contact was there? I will link that got him into the GPO Film Unit I wonder of interest.

Charlotte Jennings  11:29  
And Stuart leg was a contemporary of father at Cambridge. I think Stuart was reading history. I think I'm correct in saying that. And they they were both of the members of the film guild in Cambridge. How Stuart went into films or what to know, Chris? I don't know. But it was certainly through the auspices of Stuart leg. that poem was introduced

Alan Lawson  12:02  
to have your grandson do it and got to know girls and very early on didn't do anything mean he and Edgar and your father when he went in in 1934. And of course people like Edgar and Stuart had already been involved and they quite a bit. Edgar, certainly because he started in 1931. Did with with Grissom was the Emperor marketing. Well, this was gonna say with him. He had helped edit industrial Britain, and grant and trawler and so on. The very, very first films that were made under the auspices of Steven talents. Yes, that's right. Yes. And then and then Grace was asked to set up the GPO to manage and Edgar was put it to show he started to show Film Unit 1934. And your father presumably came in that from Cambridge, you're gonna get about that time, I guess

Charlotte Jennings  13:01  
is our news. App the term just just off to about his death. I said that was just the one pound in the bank, which he had started up married life, and perhaps had to go round raise distraught and grieving widow and two teenage daughters. We didn't even own our home. Jennings and Grayson never saw eye to eye either in concept or direction of public service movies. For Jennings, it was propaganda for the human race, a humanistic poetry countering, I don't know quite how to express this john, perhaps the end trying to express grisons ethos and I can't find a phrase for it, perhaps you can. But certainly the the, I used here in talking to the students at Murdoch University, the nuts and bolts approach or grism, but it was

Alan Lawson  14:13  
use the old cliche, the creative interpretation of

Charlotte Jennings  14:16  
reality what exactly, but it i think is the basic also also, I think, as I do say later, as from father's words, it was the imaginative interpretation of reality, which it will the earliest and did not have the aesthetic background and training out of which my father Humphrey Jennings had emerged.

Alan Lawson  14:51  
Chris was much more political in a way it wasn't a he was a he was a he was more political in the whole idea of putting across the state of the nation and But aspects of life that was, and it was very direct. I mean, think of those early films like housing problems and so on. They were very sort of flat where they they were just photographed, statement they weren't. They weren't presented in a impressionistic or creative way, not creative, unquote. Whereas Your father was doing it very differently later on, or from then on. That's what you're saying, isn't it? That's why they didn't really well, they had a lot in common but, but not sort of, from the day to days and did they actually did Greyson produce any of your father's films directly? I wonder?

Unknown Speaker  15:41  
Probably not.

Alan Lawson  15:43  
Because bill never produced any film really, because he was always there in the background. rushing around and seeing rushes. Yes, yes. He was never

Charlotte Jennings  15:52  
keep aggressing produced posthaste. post-haste odd 1934. And you produce patent pot.

Alan Lawson  16:03  
Is that is actually Cavalcanti wasn't the director that I thought. Anyway.

Unknown Speaker  16:11  
Your father was born?

Charlotte Jennings  16:12  
No, Grayson was the producer. Yeah. And Patton Patan the sets will by dial That's right. Yeah. But yes, but it was directed. Directed script writer editor was Cavalcanti. Yes. With associate directors. Battle right. And Stuart leg? Yeah, right. That's

Alan Lawson  16:28  
the full team. That's

Charlotte Jennings  16:30  
an absolutely the 14th with music with music by Bywater. Lee, right. going on from where we left off the difference between Jenny's and Grissom. around about the age of 12. I asked my father why he didn't make films like other people did. His reply was because they're not true. And I was born in 1935. Father continued at the GPO unit, and he continued to paint becoming involved with surrealist artists. He became a founding member of the surrealist movement in England, and was on the Organising Committee of the International surrealist exhibition, held in London in 1936. This was at Burlington house, where he exhibited along with Dolly ants to be castle to mention but a few. After the war, he was honoured with an OB E, which he had sent to him by post is skewing the palace investiture. Nevertheless, for its acceptance, and I may say his lack of hubris, he was expelled by it and from the surrealist group, an organisation of one can call an art movement such that scarcely could be numbered is a paid up Trades Union. 1936 saw also a stunning batch of black and white still photographs. And then there was a controversy surrounding the conduct of Edward the eighth and Mrs. Simpson with Edwards ABS application no 1937 coronation of George the six, Jennings involved himself in mass observation, observation and reports on what ordinary people thought and did on the day of crowning the 12th of May. This led directly and indirectly into his 1939 film, spare time, what do people in the major industries do when they are not working? It was this film and mass observation was also seminal to his great anthology of the Industrial Revolution. pandemonium, which he never completed, but was edited by Mary Lou and first published in 1985.

Alan Lawson  19:16  
Can we just go back for a second? We're talking about this ob what is the actual citation or whatever you'd call it for the

Charlotte Jennings  19:25  
I'm not quite sure of that. JOHN. I would imagine it would be for services rendered during during the war. He he was he our habit still. He was a war correspondent and I have that bad that is so everything it was services to his country.

Alan Lawson  19:47  
I just wondering what it was because it could have been about the same time as she can Cameron got an OB and that was for, you know, the sort of business keeping recording the time we were flying bombs and stuff. And I was running with Pepsi all day got more or less at that point during the war, but

Unknown Speaker  20:07  
I think

Alan Lawson  20:08  
I didn't realise that he did have an OBE is the first time I I knew that very interesting.

Charlotte Jennings  20:13  
I'm trying to think I think it was 19 I something rings a bell says, I'm trying to think could it be see where where it happened in I seem to remember it came by post to my maternal grandmother's house. She then moved to Buckinghamshire, right, I said is about 1946.

Alan Lawson  20:33  
All right. So just after the war, yes. So that was probably an OB for the total contribution he made. That's right.

Charlotte Jennings  20:42  
Perhaps you could ask Ken Cameron? Because might, he might

Alan Lawson  20:49  
ramillies. He might indeed because they were very close to where they worked so much together. It's a good point. I certainly I never knew that before. I don't remember him ever seeing it. You know, I'm pretending as ob, whereas Canon cameras always ob. Anyway. Sorry. That's interesting to know. Good point.

Charlotte Jennings  21:05  
What he never really talked about it. I mean, the fact that he didn't go to the palace wasn't because

Alan Lawson  21:14  
the Beatles sent their MBA.

Charlotte Jennings  21:19  
He didn't really want it.

Alan Lawson  21:23  
He thought he was an irrelevant. Perhaps he did.

Charlotte Jennings  21:27  
So I think he was he was he was obviously quite miffed when the surrealist got up and said you accepted the OBE when he'd been in great pains to say, Well, okay, I'll take it but just put it in a poster. I'm not into

Alan Lawson  21:40  
thinking isn't it that extraordinary?

Charlotte Jennings  21:47  
The shagun

Alan Lawson  21:49  
Yeah, carry on. Yes, that's a good point i diverged of it so you can good up to where you were, from where you were.

Charlotte Jennings  21:56  
These storm clouds of war had marshalled themselves unmistakably over Europe, and were with fury unleashed on the third of September 1939. And we were unprepared, a small, vulnerable Island or islands, France fell in June 1940. And the invasion of our fragile shores was much more than just a possibility. The GPO was disbanded and the official government Film Unit was born, the ground Film Unit. Jennings went to crown in September of 1940, my mother, Mary Lou and I sailed in convoy to the haven of the new world to New York, what shifted your travel on you being Cameroonian and she was torpedoed on her return journey to to port Glasgow. We were evacuees on that ship, the Cameroonian perhaps never to be united families again, or regain a united Europe.

Alan Lawson  23:09  
Can we just go back a little bit. He was saying that the crown for the GPO film and it was disbanded in the crown film and it was formed. In fact, the GPO for a minute, I'm pretty certain that they were actually commandeer, they were taken over by the Ministry of Information and renamed the ground film in it. And in fact, I saw a film once where they it the beginning it said GPO Film Unit presents, and it was a film called motion Seaman that was directed by jack Holmes. And at the end title said, the end crown Film Unit literally changed in the middle of the film. And

Charlotte Jennings  23:48  
the one that's quite possible because there has to be an actual, whatever month it was, that crown was set as being overrated. And the film could have been before it got its official title. That's right. Yes.

Alan Lawson  24:05  
Yeah. In fact, they, they did have a bit of a problem. I remember john Taylor saying that they were hanging around at the beginning of war, wondering wondering what on earth to do. They eventually worked out a little film called the first days. It was established that that I think, was the very first complete crime film in production.

Charlotte Jennings  24:29  
first days, which has the alternative title of a city prepares,

Unknown Speaker  24:34  
city prepares.

Charlotte Jennings  24:35  
And that's GPO Film Unit, a BS, PC,

Alan Lawson  24:41  
associated British picture Corporation. That must have been It must have been distributed by BPC that would be sort of the end of 1939 it was a sort of phoney war, wasn't it? When they win nothing. We were all expecting things to happen. And all they did was they felt sad. bags and there was a lot of that sort of work being filmed in preparation the air raid wardens been going through the motions rehearsing for down

Unknown Speaker  25:09  
that question supervisor with the rat. At that time, it'll be lovely, you know, stuck with it until it started

Alan Lawson  25:18  
until they started in the spring of 1940. And you had probably barrage balloons.

Charlotte Jennings  25:25  
I remember Bausch burns

Alan Lawson  25:27  
Yes, that's another thing. They had mariners were doing that all winter.

Charlotte Jennings  25:30  
In 1940. We, the family had a flat not very far from here in it was then called some James's squares now some James's garden is on him. And I remember being taken for walks or ready on a bus and Kensington garden and the barrage balloons in the sky. Remember that very clearly. is

Alan Lawson  25:55  
very interesting. Yes, sorry. I

Charlotte Jennings  26:00  
think I remember sheep that too, but maybe but maybe that was a bit later but maybe I was told that but I seem to remember seeing they did have ups.

Alan Lawson  26:15  
So we got to Yes, right.

Charlotte Jennings  26:18  
Oh, we've we've got to hit 1940.

Alan Lawson  26:23  
And you were on

Charlotte Jennings  26:24  
and, and in passing the in game from Port does go to New York in convoy. It took us 10 days

Alan Lawson  26:38  
and speed of the slowest ship

Charlotte Jennings  26:41  
and dies in convoy.

Alan Lawson  26:42  
Can you remember much about the convoy itself? The Can you remember?

Charlotte Jennings  26:47  
I we came back in convoy in 1944. This time two to eight miles to Bristol. But being convoy, not not only did you not have sight to land ever, and I've no idea what route we took because it took 16 days coming back. And that was really that was really Kevin's What's the date today? The fifth?

Alan Lawson  27:11  
Yes, it's the seventh Guy Fawkes Day, isn't it today,

Charlotte Jennings  27:15  
we arrived in eighth math on the fourth of November, the day yesterday as it were 1944. So and the Atlantic had been very, very rough. You know, the the Atlantic and autumn and winter is, is no joke and ship coming back whose name I don't remember what it was a rusty little tub. French rap certainly unseaworthy, that the outward journey and the return journey. Not only did we not see any land, nor do we know the route that we took, but you never saw any of the other ships at the convoy, either, or you didn't know No, no, absolutely not.

Alan Lawson  28:04  
No, did you hear regularly when you are an American, you do hear pretty regularly from your father when what he was up to, and how the films were being made?

Charlotte Jennings  28:16  
Well, the he was not good at writing letters. But he can be excused that he was working terribly hard. You know, he said, in letters, particularly to two mothers saying I've never worked so hard in my life. We're doing 14 hours a day. But

Alan Lawson  28:41  
that would have been 1940 onwards. The films like the one he did

Charlotte Jennings  28:49  
in the past was a little bit later. The Britain listened to Britain. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  28:58  

Charlotte Jennings  28:59  
Don't forget that. We should not forget. So whatever information he wished you were saying was censored aside. Yes.

Alan Lawson  29:10  
Yes, he wouldn't be able to give you details, but he then very used to working very long hours. And he made that rather interesting agricultural film because spring offensive that was about that time, wasn't it? 1940 that was that was before the vows were started and listen to

Unknown Speaker  29:28  
those definitely.

Alan Lawson  29:28  
Well, it was like to actually think that the importance of snake had. I always like to swing offensive on that.

Charlotte Jennings  29:41  
Farm. Yes, spring offensive was manual 14. And it had it had an old it had a different title, which is an alternate an unrecorded victory and recorded victory.

Alan Lawson  29:52  
And there were shades of that. I remember later on in dyersburg, Tennessee, some of those sort of farming stuff. in Darfur. Timothy reminded me Have a spring offensive?

Charlotte Jennings  30:02  
I don't think I've ever seen spring offensive.

Alan Lawson  30:05  
I don't think I've got that. I've got most of his films that I haven't got spring offensive. So anyway, Yes, right.

Charlotte Jennings  30:16  
The first I hope this doesn't sound too stilted. But this really is because we were looking no because this these were the films that we were looking at. And this

Alan Lawson  30:26  
is established if you're giving your address on the west sort of going interpolating as it were.

Charlotte Jennings  30:32  
The first film which we'll see today is words for battle, made in 1941. At the height of the Blitz, it was a short declamation of what we were fighting for. Our second film 1942 is listened to Britain, the sound of Britain at war, the third film made towards the end of the war. 1944 45 is a diary for Timothy, a chronicle addressed to a baby born on the anniversary of the outbreak of war September the third, recounting what has been happening in these last recent years. It is one of Jennings's masterpieces. Unfortunately, term does not allow us to look at his other masterpiece. For us was started of 1943. I do urge you to see it if you possibly can. fires, as it is affectionately known shows better than any other office movies, the extreme hazard nurse of filming at that time. JOHN, I hope that what I said is correct. And you could please mark my paper as it were, one, all the 35 mill equipment was cumbersome and very heavy. Because of all the destruction through bombing roads and streets were torn to pieces. So not easy to manoeuvre the heavy gear. Three, filming needs lights, and the cities of Britain were under constant curfew, and constant after dark blackout. All the film stock was highly inflammable nitrate, not fun to use with bombs exploding anywhere, anytime, and retakes an added nightmare, if at all possible. And I think it's worth noting here, that partly through the necessity, because of the dangers of of filming, that Jennings made a great emphasis on the use of natural light. And where this was possible. He in pride this he got

Alan Lawson  32:57  
a wonderful sort of early morning stuff, grey, after the bombing and all that a lot of the time that sort of grey London, this natural light was crucial, isn't it? That sort of natural light. But of course, the bombing, the fires were started that was reconstructed with Sean Bell, as he was saying it had to be reconstructed during blackout time. And I I don't know how they got around that I suppose they had special dispensation It must have been a time during allow, but in the air raids in general, I suppose. Because it was a very competent, and that was his nearest to conventional feature film. Yeah. Well, it was a it was a conventional feature film and very

Charlotte Jennings  33:42  

Alan Lawson  33:42  
with it. It was a, quote, tightly scripted story and very dramatic.

Charlotte Jennings  33:48  
Somewhere, he notes in saying that the making fast started with its reconstruction as opposed to you know, it actually being a fire. He said that the making of it was actually more dangerous he considered than if it had been real far.

Alan Lawson  34:09  
Yeah, because they had to be fairly high up to date with all those settings larger the woodwork on all the hoses. Yeah. And, and the fact that they were having to do it fragmented with camera angles. And so yes, I can understand that. It would be better if you've been able to shoot it at Pinewood Studios on a set, but they didn't do that they shot it at a an actual warehouse.

Charlotte Jennings  34:35  
After the war, and up until his untimely death. Then Jennings continue to make films and just talk about sorry, I'm

Alan Lawson  34:42  
sorry. Please talk about words for battle. Did he have any particular I mean, did he talk to you at all about words the battle I always thought that was such an interesting film. And it was just sort of people really doing going about their daily Work and walking along the streets and it was it is unusual because you had this these quotations and drew all these lovely quotations from Blake and Shakespeare and and with the music of handle

Charlotte Jennings  35:13  
if, since I have got the brief descriptions of the three movies that we looked at on that day, we think perhaps, if, if I can answer your question excuse me in that order as I as I did it, because otherwise they were going to lose the room, but I fear of the continuity, you

know, so, so, RPG after the war and up until his untimely death, Jenny's continued to make films and to paint and work on pandemonium, but none of these films has the punch of his wartime work. In five short years, he had produced his unequivocal luminosity. Late in 1944 mother, Mary Lou and I recross the perilous Atlantic in convoy again 1947 Saurus all housed together, again in London, are things out of store on par with his paintings and books. Thus, we were in name at least, a reunited family for just three brief years. The war was the inspiration or hook for the synthesis of Jennings his thought and feelings expressible in film, he had a good war. Extraordinary that his personal touch should have succeeded against the official drum of propaganda campaign. With the war he could indeed release his passion, sometimes accused of being too intellectual to be a painter, such a quality or attribute has not hindered him in these wonderful and heartfelt some pictures. The unconditional peace patch of 1945 were uneasy. We had to rebuild, but there was a nebulous, numbed sense, where now, what next, Jennings needed a new impetus said several projects were aired, he drafted sketches for a film on the London Symphony Orchestra, which, with his unerring musical sensibility, could have or at least, or might have been at least a pointer. But research on this and he baits is the purple plane for which he went to Burma in 1946, or 47. Came to nothing. His last completed film, family portrait made for the 1951 Festival of Britain presents in scrapbook lanten slide format, a history of Britain and the British people or family, comprehensive and imaginative as it is, it somehow lacks the fire of conviction, the enthusiasm he had previously engendered. No, I cannot but conjecture, that he is concerned for history got in his way, or the tea allowed it to do so. He couldn't or wouldn't walk sufficiently away from the past. His marriage and family life was not in good repair. And as always, there was little enough money. Until very recently, I have considered mythically speaking, that is tragic deaths on that tiny island could be expressed as he did not look where he was going. I now think he did not see did not perceive where he was going, which is fundamentally a different concept. Was he trying to find tomorrow by looking back where the mistake was he the Orpheus, to eurisy engaged with the furys turning on that rock face to lend a hand to his companion, his continuity lady, his push his foot dashed against a stone, he lost his foothold. He the athlete, he who had combated with the Blitz, with Nero scratch on him had dropped And lost his life. You're always in such a hurry. Dylan Barry continuity had said to him, you don't understand was his retort. I don't have the time. One commentator has suggested that Gen that what Jennings needed was a revolution. I propose that what he needed was evolution, a greater involvement and concern for those close to him.

His abstraction from the near and immediate, contributed to his literal down for his, his perception of the present, as opposed to the historical could and would have saved him. Tragically like the French poet Apollinaire, he professed to stand with the his Back to the Future, because we cannot see it. This seems to me to be perversely anti an existentialist in a stance for the artist is in a unique position to predict and to create a measure of the future. At the time of his death, Jennings was in Greece to make a film on European recovery, title, the good life. He is buried in Athens and as your a gn skies, guarded by that emblem of mourning, the Sentinel sweet scented Cyprus, Greece has claimed another parrot. Before we watch the films and I apologise, Rypien overlong wish to make a very strong point. Apart from the myriad talents Jennings had, and the work that I have summarised here, he was also a foreign poet and to broadcast and wrote on the nature and function of poetry and the visual arts. These critiques are always constructive. His is always the imaginative not imaginary interpretation of reality. He does not dissect, what do we learn of creation by disassembling it, nothing of how it came about in the wondrous mystery. Therefore, in the attempt at further understanding the core a nexus of these films or any other works of art, for that matter, I beg of you to use your poetic sensibilities as to their composition, construction and meaning and not the surgeon's scalpel. If you use the knife, you will destroy the very soul you are trying to find and unravel. Along with Jennings himself. I recommend Bowdler Sorry, I recommend the adherence to the creative methods of interpretation of grey Coleridge, Shelley Bowdler, Paul Anwar TS Eliot, and that fine German literary critic critic Walter Benioff, Minh no doubt many an Australian writer whose works I regret that to date. I'm not acquainted

Alan Lawson  43:55  
with How do you spell that? venue? I can.

Charlotte Jennings  44:00  
It's as in water valter and Ben young

Alan Lawson  44:04  
him as in Benjamin Benjamin. Yeah, right. Yeah.

Charlotte Jennings  44:06  
Very, very distinguished. German literary critic.

Alan Lawson  44:13  
Yeah, no, that's very interesting. That's another nice not to go to talk about some of the individual films as we rather I'd rather implied when when I interrupted you last time. Because the one or two like this, the ones that are rather sort of forgotten, like have a silent village and and defeated people and Cumberland story. You see, that was an unusual film. You know, that was his film. Well, he didn't. That was a I suppose you could argue that covenants story is a natural progression after the war comes because the silent villagers about coal mining.

Charlotte Jennings  44:55  
I tell you, john, the last time that I had the pleasure Imagine with john Taylor was at the BTF reunion of whichever year it was a few years ago, nine to one might choose I mean that and john sat me down and she said, shall I do make this suggestion go now Cumberland story, again is a very good interest in removing

Alan Lawson  45:23  
is very much going

Charlotte Jennings  45:26  
in. Yes, press that point very strongly.

Alan Lawson  45:32  
Because you might have remembered a bit about that being made because you were back at home. Oh,

Charlotte Jennings  45:37  
we went we want Yeah, we went on holiday to to, uh, to the Lake District. You and I actually visited the hotel where we stayed on Lake bassenthwaite.

Alan Lawson  45:50  
All right. Yes. Oh, yes. Yes.

Charlotte Jennings  45:54  
Yes. kizi. The fails, typos. A

Alan Lawson  46:00  
couple of story was in fact made forum. Was it the national coal board was that had just been? I mean, it was a crime film and production, but it was the very beginning of the nationalised coal industry was really about the history of coal mining. There was that particular mine up in come and Cumberland

Charlotte Jennings  46:21  
is a lovely

Alan Lawson  0:01  
Start your side for Yes. Now you're talking about the making of Campbell and story.

Charlotte Jennings  0:06  
Well, first of all, you wanted the credits. We want the credits, don't we drum? Tamblyn story. Production Alex shore for crown ground Film Unit in brackets car I for ministry of fuel and power. Oh, right. Yes. minute. fuel and power. Yes. And Goodness me. Yes.

And that but as you were saying this was just at the time which the coal was being nationalised? Yes, that's right. Yeah. Remember dad this lovely stories of obviously to do, as it were. So I plan on nationalisation and these two refugees, I think they were Polish sitting in a railway carriage and their English was absolutely excellent. And one looked at the other and said, Have you been nationalised yet?

Unknown Speaker  1:08  
That's very good.

Alan Lawson  1:11  
They were up there are a long time of day in Cumberland,

Charlotte Jennings  1:15  
where he bees head face hair, he said, Yes.

Alan Lawson  1:19  
There was a reconstruction of this coal mine that had been

Charlotte Jennings  1:26  
under the sea. Yes, and it flooded

Alan Lawson  1:29  
on the coast. And then they they staged the flooding in whatever year it was 1890 or something or 1870. And they actually built a set at Pinewood Studios. Yes, timeless studios. And it that's where the flood took place.

Charlotte Jennings  1:48  
Is that sequence is dramatically is very convincing.

Alan Lawson  1:54  
And there was rather a nice, the leading man with the sort of, I suppose the manager of the

Charlotte Jennings  2:01  
Mr. Nimmo Mr. limo. That's it. Yes. And when we move back to London, in 1947, we had a black cat. He was and he was called Emma black as coal he was.

Alan Lawson  2:15  
Do you remember what your father's what he thought of the film after it was completed he ever sort of talk about it did talk about work that was finished and, and wrapped up under shown as opposed to rushing on to the next project? Because that was the last one he did at Chrome.

Charlotte Jennings  2:33  
I think that he was exactly the same as all creative people, that the thing that he was doing at the moment was it it was the most important thing. And at the end, he would be pleased or very pleased and would talk about it and say yes, yes, yes. But then the next project and that was where his concentration was.

Alan Lawson  3:03  
But it was at that point, wasn't it when he finally left chrome Film Unit because Mr. Dalrymple Ian Dalrymple was setting up or had set up a company called Wessex productions

Charlotte Jennings  3:20  
will presume that presumably means that Darren Paul who was with crown left when when he left or he left in order to set up

Alan Lawson  3:30  
where six he left actually he did other work. Before is that was there anything because he did for an hour and who left crown in 1943 because I remember when I applied for a job to a crown, I was getting his name and address. I was the studios and I wrote Dear Mr. Dalrymple, this is 1943. But when I three months later finally took off my place in the film library. No longer was the end Dalrymple, jack Holmes and become the producer. So I never actually met DeAndre Rambo. I don't think I ever I probably shook hands with him once years later, but I'd never really had any conversation with him and I would always my regret that I never knew him because I mean, Delray, Milan Jennings, it was a very good team, wasn't it? or indeed,

Unknown Speaker  4:17  
it was.

Charlotte Jennings  4:18  
JOHN, it was an absolutely marvellous team. Darren Paul was the most unlikely personality to be a producer. He was rather shy, rather awkward in his movements, and enormously sympathetic to the outlook search power had and they his gentleness and patience. So that was, that was that was really very wonderful.

Alan Lawson  4:54  
And they were most of the films that like Pfizer started, he produced that I imagined Dalrymple and, and I suppose I suppose listened to Britain too. And because he was there all that time. I don't think he produced silent village because I think your father produced that himself.

Charlotte Jennings  5:23  
Yes, you're absolutely correct. Absolutely correct. Yes, that image was produced by five pound script and direction by him. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  5:33  
But Dalrymple probably didn't always have a credit. He'd been sort of executive producer, perhaps not all, but he would have been closely involved. Because he was certainly there then. I knew certainly there that was 9943. And then I've ever had I remember your dad saying one day he said, Trouble is, I need to produce a he said I need to produce a we haven't got one. And that was after linamar Lane. I suppose. He produced that himself.

Charlotte Jennings  6:07  
No, jack home. Yes.

Alan Lawson  6:09  
That's right. Yes. It's okay. Because jack Holmes was still there. Then su jack left Rob for a bit. And there was a gap between jack Holmes and, and Alec. Alec. Sure. Sorry, jack Holmes better, right? Yes, there was a there was a great gap. And that was when I remember, I'm pressing her like, I need a producer when we get to have one. And then basil, right turned up a new, it's just about that time when he's was starting off on director, Timothy, September 1944 Battle of iron him and all that. Remember that? Well. But it's interesting, because obviously, he produced salad village himself quite happily. I mean, when I first depending on the sorts of thing you're doing, I suppose there are some films that need a separate producer more than others.

The sort of work that he's doing every being on location, you always need a good strong producer back at home, checking the rushes CIA grants to was such so good at that, you know, being determined assessing rushes was brilliant at that. And that's the difficulty of producing our own films, as well as directing them is that you get a little bit too close. Yes. You can't see the word.

Charlotte Jennings  7:33  
Why is it a great difficulty here with artists and with a person like Pa? Because he, you know, he was autocratic? You know that this is the way it goes. Yeah. And it's very difficult to produce somebody necessarily get to listen.

Alan Lawson  7:54  
No, no, that's true. Well, he was given pretty well, carte blanche, wasn't he? I imagine them fill my diary for Timothy tivity. I know they shot hundreds of 1000s of feet. The film, you know, it was talking about tip of the iceberg. What was finally came out, it was only about 40 minutes long, and there must have been hours and hours, it must have been sort of a ratio 20 to one or something, I guess, rather like the equivalent of that, that British Council films. We are wildlife films, like your natural history of Selborne going into spring where you're you have to go on a film into the birds do the right thing. But in wartime, you know, and those days Cranfield minute were under a ministry. And they had carte blanche to go ahead and get what they wanted as effectively as they possibly could. And there were there weren't so many strictures on budget. That No, I was thinking you and asked you earlier. What did he make? Did he talk at all about word for battle? And you wouldn't necessarily because it was what you were aware at the time and you wouldn't have heard much about it being made. And likewise, we talked about Pfizer started what was the only one listened to Britain? That's right. Did you talk with him about listen to Britain at

Charlotte Jennings  9:16  
all? One they were made during the years that his mother and Mary and I were in the States. I have been asked this question before. I think you know, if you've been working all day doesn't matter what you've been doing when you go home. It's down tools. And also talking about something that you're working on very often spoils No, I don't honestly remember him. I don't remember him talking about his no it was at all Nope.

Alan Lawson  10:00  
I was thinking more of sort of, you might have asked him questions about how did you shoot that or how it was

Charlotte Jennings  10:06  
he was just finished, he was fairly dismissive and cheery. We were all set, we've all got such funny personalities. Because, in a sense, he really, one would have thought that he would have, as it were drawn to his bosom, his family to into his work and the way he thought about things and saw things, but he really didn't talk about it at all.

Alan Lawson  10:35  
Did you not know,

Charlotte Jennings  10:36  
very, very strange

Unknown Speaker  10:44  

Charlotte Jennings  10:45  
wasn't forthcoming. But he was such a charged personality was making his films and and pandemonium and his painting that

Alan Lawson  11:04  
of course, I used to think that family portrait for example, that he must, you must have been very much aware of that going on, because that was the late late his last film and you know, you weren't home and,

Charlotte Jennings  11:18  
indeed, what he wanted. Quite. He wanted a sequence of mother, Mary Lou and I at home. I played the piano a bit. So did Mother Mary Lou had a very nice soprano voice we two girls played plus two girls played recorders. And so he presented this said, getting getting the crew in and it was a very small flat and mother blue. Mother blue. No, no, aren't having those lights. I'm not having those boys. I'm not having those cables. No, no, no, no, this is a home. And I say

Alan Lawson  12:03  
that because it never

Charlotte Jennings  12:06  
happened. Yes.

Alan Lawson  12:11  
Because that was an exceptionally interesting film. I remember going to the very first showing of it at the COI and Grissom was there and he said, he said at the end he said that's the best Magic Lantern lecturer ever seen.

Charlotte Jennings  12:25  
So he liked it, did he? Yeah, he

Alan Lawson  12:28  
did indeed. Yeah. But he, I suppose you could say it'd been slightly disparate, disparaging by describing it as a magic lantern lecture. But I know what he means because

Charlotte Jennings  12:37  
it is a very,

Alan Lawson  12:38  
he is very good description wasn't it is a scrapbook. The page is turning. And it was a sort of thoughtful, or very thoughtful commentary. spoken by that excellent actor, Michael Goodliffe. And it had been previously spoken by Lawrence Olivia. The commentary and your you knew that obviously. And that

Charlotte Jennings  12:59  
was scrapped. And I remember Olivier coming presumably with his chauffeur in a rolls to the house that we lived in in Camden Town. And I suppose Olivier must have come up to the sitting room to meet bar is probably before the recording session. I read his hands

Alan Lawson  13:20  
and then discuss the principal young

Charlotte Jennings  13:22  
marine and it would the weather was not very Clement and Nimmo the cat and escaped, drawn left poor marks of the Rolls Royce.

Unknown Speaker  13:38  
Olivia rose.

Alan Lawson  13:41  
I have very interesting and there was a very good composer that he liked using called john Greenwood.

Charlotte Jennings  13:50  
Yes, yes.

Alan Lawson  13:53  
Did a lovely? It was john green. Yes, yes. Yes. It's lovely. So I always thought he was a rather underrated composer because he did so many marvellous scores. But perhaps he wasn't really underrated. He just was a very, very good sort of film music composer. And it turned out very well and it was a great tool.

Charlotte Jennings  14:15  
I haven't I haven't looked ship to

Alan Lawson  14:19  
you you slightly criticise it that Andrew

Charlotte Jennings  14:24  
Yes. Rams. Yes. Sadly, I've I feel it's, it's it's a kind of marking time movie. I get the sense that it's not. It is not completely committed. And this is backward looking. Obviously, this is what was the intention. First of all Britain. I find it just fun. It was getting that feeling that prize looking or wants a sense of direction? And this is some kind of marking time.

Alan Lawson  15:07  
Yeah, well, I suppose he was reflecting the country at the time. We were all looking for a sense of direction is only a few years after the war five years after the war, and it was a time of sort of change and when they were government to be going for a few years. And it was austerity, wasn't it? It was still rationing and all that, indeed, very tight. Very, very frightening. But I would, I was wondering whether he had who was his producer on that? Was it Dalrymple?

Charlotte Jennings  15:39  

Alan Lawson  15:41  
Yes, because I wondered how closely they work together. I was thinking that, you know, and the other thing, maybe they had a rather short schedule, had to get it done, because I sort of had a feeling that perhaps they'd spent a little bit more time on the commentary. It would, it could have got it better.

Charlotte Jennings  15:57  
I remember now in Kevin Jackson's Humphrey Jennings film reader, which came out a few years ago, yeah, he quotes from a number of letters, from par to my mother and letters from PA, to Dalrymple, and about family portrayed. And he is, is having an absolute hell of a time on the financing of it. And Grierson keeps on jumping down his throat, and he writes his long letter to Indra ronto, saying, I really, I'm not I don't, I don't usually write a letter like this. But I have to say, My dear in if I get any further interruption from john Grierson. I'm not making the movie at all. It was I think there was very, very serious

Alan Lawson  17:05  
pressure. I mean, was that a aggressing? pressure through completion dates, or was it the sort of actual

Charlotte Jennings  17:13  
funding funding? Yeah. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  17:18  

Charlotte Jennings  17:20  
And people were not being paid

Alan Lawson  17:23  
for offering information, I suppose. Was it it was made for the festival of Britain, wasn't it? I think it was made for the festival of Britain. Committee, I suppose the financing was?

Charlotte Jennings  17:35  
Well, it was, I think it was fine. It was commissioned and financed by the Festival of Britain. But it was made by although it says for here in our book for Wessex, where six was commissioned by the the body of the festival of Britain,

Alan Lawson  17:57  
but in fact, Grissom is no longer at that time. 1950 was he with the theoi for life as he must have been exposed as he would be just before he went to group three, because it was 1950 years old was probably so the cry were obviously overseeing it. And in and in those days, the money was very tight, because you had to wait for the money to come from the different sources, whereas in the old days, after the war time, as he just was driving, I was saying earlier, you know, they had carte blanche to go ahead and get it right. It was a very different ballgame by 1950. Now, what about the other one he did at Wessex, because that was called dim little island. And that was even more modest, wasn't it? And that was the sort of thoughts of a few different people, I suppose in a way it was like something It must have been made very cheaply.

Charlotte Jennings  18:47  
was very short and 11 minutes. I basically the idea is, oh, here we are after this dreadful war. What is the future of the arts in this country? Because the music is by Vaughan Williams and and there were interviews with us was born Williams and other artists

Alan Lawson  19:17  
relayed back wasn't it it was very sort of quiet for thoughtful reflective.

Unknown Speaker  19:26  

Alan Lawson  19:29  
was made about two years before family portraits I suppose one did or year or 249

or one year before Yeah. Yeah, I thought on record it was the Johnny good film. I like seeing it again and again, but there are always certain things in the commentary which I think will you know, I'm sure if they'd had a little bit more time they will change the wording didn't have that often think that any time when I have a sort of thought that about any of his songs obviously Is that they were short of time because the short of money and

Charlotte Jennings  20:04  
I think some of the commentary in defeated people is a little bit. Arch. And

Alan Lawson  20:13  
that's very interesting. I'd forgotten about that. And it was spoken by as one night. There, too. I mean, as

Charlotte Jennings  20:23  
William Hart

Alan Lawson  20:24  
William Hartnell. Really heartful. Yes. And it was rather an aggressive sort of a commentary, wasn't it? It was very, yes. Very tough speaking. And it was about the well, it was really about the refugees, wasn't it in the aftermath of war and Germany's defeated people. And, and those nasty people who had been running the concentration camps, it was very vicious wasn't very effective. This is propaganda really, wasn't it? Would you say that was a propaganda?

Charlotte Jennings  20:56  
Yes, I would. Yes, yes. Is it I can't remember the exact words but the displays people, and they produce their papers and the voice at the commentary, the voiceover said, some of their papers are too good. And some of them not good enough. We're not good enough. And some of them are too good. The forge ones.

Alan Lawson  21:24  
If you felt as though you'd been dragged through a hedge when you saw that film, because there was that very pounding music track going on on this voice pounding away at talking about the people who

Unknown Speaker  21:39  

Alan Lawson  21:41  
in a state of disarray.

Charlotte Jennings  21:44  
Like kids playing on Harley, you know, the rubble and yes. Oh, yeah, very strong. Film in image

Alan Lawson  21:58  
just right is not to go back the, you're talking about spare time as a sort of seminal work. And that's very true. Because if you look at spare time, and you look at listen to Britain, they really are I mean, it's Listen, listen to Britain does a sort of complete version, isn't it? Because spare spare time has the hit as the same sort of style of filmmaking it is sort of vaguely impressionist, but it's, it's more of a doodle. Whereas whereas listened to Britain is all powerful and pervasive and terrific. which is which, which one? Is it you have a favourite amongst all those? You've probably seen them all. So often, it's probably difficult to judge. But I suppose everybody has their choice, not necessarily a favourite.

Charlotte Jennings  22:57  
Well, I've got a favourites sequence. And this is in dire for Timothy. And this is the Christmas you remember the Christmas Timothy's first Christmas and his mother and, and grandmother. They toast Nick Christmas. And in the various the farmer on their app, they get up with the with their glass with Sherry or heaven, absent friend absent friend, absent friends. Now, mother, Mary Lou and I had returned due to England in November of 1944. And Father was not there to meet us and I don't remember when he did turn up is sometime later and when he was he was filming Timothy. And in in the film, The the commentary by him, Forster says the, the weather is awful. And the war won't be over by Christmas. And then out and then that it's it rains it too much rain and the rain doesn't suit us. Most of our houses are damaged. All the mending of the rubes and then as Michael Redgrave who speaks he and his son out of this out of this whatever the word and praises Foster's out of this awfulness comes as a particular way in which he uses his he says that word loveliness and this is Christmas morning. And there's the hoarfrost and everything is, is the detail, which is all in this Christmas Day, intimacy. Now this was the first Christmas that we had back in England. And the reality of what we see in Tennessee is what I experienced my mother experienced. Well, father was shooting it, the weather had been abominable. But the dawning of Christmas Day, just as you will see it in the film was the most incredible and almost unimaginable sight. It was nothing short of heavenly, the frozen ground and the crystallised trees, ice pink, blue sky, each blade of grass and crop, each twig and branch delineated feathered, laden and possessed of magical properties. The crisp air was silent and still not to disturb this celestial miracle. I should never forget this scene, either in reality, or here on film marilu. And I put on our American snow suits, and boots, and played it Russians, who were by then our allies, crunching our way through the deep snow of Grant's fields. You'll see in here greetings to the Red Army. I'm dead. What expresses any better because you can see it on film? And I just remember

Alan Lawson  27:00  
what was what was on the soundtrack, because you had that cut from the awful weather, the rain. And those five and the buses?

Charlotte Jennings  27:07  
I think we go into church and we have Christmas service,

Alan Lawson  27:11  
I think we probably have Oh, come on, you're faithful or something like that.

Charlotte Jennings  27:15  
And then there's a tracking shutter on a canal or river. You think the gateway is an exterior?

Alan Lawson  27:21  
That's right. Yes, you come off the whole process. And then and then you have the children on the ice, and curious, and then you get inside to the Christmas tree. And it's a lovely contrast, terrific contrast,

Charlotte Jennings  27:35  
and cutting inside to the Christmas tree. And there were quite a number of takes is absent friends and mother holding Timothy obviously is Timothy his father is not there. He's out east, it already been told. But it was real. It was real. Timothy's mother her bit short. dose was one glass occasionally, you know, to a week or something. It was real, to be retake and retake and retake. Rather theme to the end of sport. So again, you

Alan Lawson  28:27  
go back to take one, don't you if you if you do take off to take off to take and then finally

Charlotte Jennings  28:35  
react is all really

Alan Lawson  28:37  
it already is in such a state. Because it's alcohol and food and you go back to the first steak. But as you get in other words, you came back to England, whilst he was actually it was shooting yesterday for him as he must have been. He must have been about, I suppose a third of the know halfway through because he's he started in September. And I remember the working title was was six months. Did you know that working six months. And it was Richard, he said I would love the six months stuff coming in again. And yeah. And the projection is you know, always down to earth. There are 1000s of feet of stuff. And then occasionally your sink shooting so there'd be a mad rush to get everything synched up in the old fashioned way.

Unknown Speaker  29:35  
But I don't know.

Alan Lawson  29:37  
I suppose he had planned from the start to shoot for six months. But of course at that point, we didn't know how long the war was going on. And obviously it used to be first with us, right, the first six months of the baby Timothy, let's sort of base it on perhaps the first six months of his life and see how it goes. Maybe that's why it was called six months.

Charlotte Jennings  30:00  
I think to the must've been a political or strategic,

Alan Lawson  30:09  

Charlotte Jennings  30:12  
bottom what were some some sense that the war might be over? Otherwise I can't see why. We we risked our lives mother, Mary Lou and I in coming back in October November of 44. Because we arrived at eight miles. And what did it say? The twos and didn't know the word to Peter so dupes, or Yeah, the The

Alan Lawson  30:44  
point is that the D day had happened several months before. And so we were the Germans were no longer on anywhere near the French coasts, and they'd been pushed right back to them. Not as far as the road, but they were well back when they by then the Battle of Arnhem River. Yes, they were there. So so that point of view, it was fairly safely what they we weren't. We weren't going to be invaded, obviously, that was the thing. But there was still v tos. That's quite right. They did they were finishing right, then they finished and sort of January as well as February 1945.

Charlotte Jennings  31:17  
That's right.

Alan Lawson  31:18  
Anyway, dark country. I mean, it doesn't end at the end of the war, does it? It ends up sort of reflective if the war is coming to an end, but you don't actually have

Charlotte Jennings  31:27  
Oh, yes. Do we have? Do you enjoy your day? We end we end with a close up? Well, this is what's been happening, basically, what kind of what kind of world you kind of make a close up of Timothy who does a girl go? And we're very optimistic. Well, you and the other babies.

Alan Lawson  31:48  
So it is a it's left sort of there for you to have to deal with sort of thing. But we don't end up with anything conventional, like D day because sorry, V day because it hadn't even happened because no it hadn't because we hit in other words, he did finish after six months. So it was September, October, November, December, January, February, well, probably the middle of beginning of March or something like that. And therefore there was another two months to go. But anyway, would you say that there's perhaps some if you suddenly said I wish like the film of his would you like us to see your pet would be perhaps your first choice could be go for Timothy.

Charlotte Jennings  32:33  
No. Faster started. Fast. Well, three actually listened to Britain. Fast antifertility.

Alan Lawson  32:47  
Listen to written files started over Timothy. Yes. Well, I think yes, I think that would be mine, too. That was very interesting that I thought that the true story of Mr. Lane was a very interesting,

Charlotte Jennings  33:00  
yes. Yes.

Alan Lawson  33:02  
They are. Again, he was using him and he had a lot of sort of feature style shooting, you know, with all that nightclubs done, and the reconstruction of the Germans taking over that radio station. And he had he used a lot of library material from other sources, isn't it? And then there was that man, that is it. Dennis Johnson, you know, the war reporter who was talking about how the Germans were were singing lilium Ireland, and then the eight army cottoned on to that particular tune, and Lucy Mannheim and Marius goring. they rewrote it. And then that was all very, very good. I mean, it was an excellent film on it. And it got a terrifically good showing in the cinemas. I remember seeing it in my local cinema in Newbury was on with Danny Kaye, which which Danny came up and I was really young. And they and also I'm losted Unfortunately, they had the sheet music of it. You know, this is Lily, my lane from the true story of Lily Marlena crown from mid production beginnings zone. So that really got the the treatment, but it's a forgotten field isn't it is not considered. And silent village, I suppose is? That one, of course is a tough cookie, isn't it? It's it's a very depressing film. In a way, I will find it very strong. Being about the Vedas.

Charlotte Jennings  34:39  
That is a very depressing subject. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  34:43  
Well, I just I mean, it's very depressing subject. It's would be a beautiful film about the recurrent literature as though it was in a Welsh mining village rather than in Czechoslovakia. And that was Really strong stuff. did that do? Well, you know, did it dumb what it is success, I wonder?

Charlotte Jennings  35:06  
Certainly in university circles, films society circles, it's very hardly soaked off by vive to young filmmakers know the same old Timothy and and sign up village? Yes. I think there is something that perhaps we could just emphasise in the films of of PA. And that is his wonderful use of the British quality of understatement. There is nothing and nothing is earned. You never get the emotion on the sleeve. Then this has this, this is used to great dramatic effect, I think you remember in fires when there's there's the bomb and the girls who are answering the phone saying how much equipment I've got, Jim, Jim, and cheap. Ford is a thought ninjas. Yes, she picks up on GM. And she gets them again, you can run around. I'm sorry about that. Yes. And it is enormous. Would that be

Alan Lawson  36:30  
because it was actually these films are made during the war. So people were all experiencing it firsthand. The sort of the horror of it as it were, if you happen to be in a blitz and so on. Whereas nowadays, if you sort of make a film or historical film about what happened, then you would you make it much more realistically, and you wouldn't spare all the agony all the detail.

Charlotte Jennings  36:57  
I personally think No, I personally think that this is a British characteristic, which are observed very well. And he saw people behaving like this during the war. Quietly getting on with the job. Good, none of the operatic performance that one would have over have an Italian for instance, which has an enormous as I say, it has enormous dramatic effect. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  37:44  
It's so it's sort of its territory. Subtle. It's almost sort of disarming in a way, isn't it? Because, like the scenes in well, silent village, as well as where people are just sort of listening to the radio, and this all this awful horror. And all they're doing is sitting there quietly going about, they're having their tea and making the jam or routers and taking the dog for a walk, and all this horror is going on. And of course, that's why it was so effective because of the contrast of everyday life and the horror that was approaching them. And he was very good at that wasn't any sort of domestic scenes, with people being reflective and listening to the radio. That was a strong thing, wasn't it? He is he used the wireless, very cleverly,

Charlotte Jennings  38:31  

Alan Lawson  38:32  
most of the field Well, certainly in cell village and certainly in direct Timothy. And certainly in spring offensive I remember there were a lot of radio scenes. People just sort of listening to the latest news bulletins, and telling the story through the everyday broadcasts.

Charlotte Jennings  38:58  
His use of understatement and partner in the story that he was in Trafalgar Square, and the siren blew blue and everybody rushed to shelter been pouring with rain and was very wet and with to load ladies standing outside the entrance to the air raid shelters in Trafalgar Square and Paul, Missouri that crash everywhere looked at every week dashing to save the life, mind boggle their mind.

Alan Lawson  39:46  
I'll tell you this one very important aspect of your father's work. We haven't discussed that is his relationship with his film editor who was named Steven McAllister, you may have heard of him, Stewart McAllister, and Mack and Humphrey worked on so many films together, direct from I don't know where that spring offensive but certainly the the one reloads, you know London can take it and, and right through to well he edited family portrait in the Super calissa show he did. Yes. And he didn't edit diary for Josie because that was when Mark had been banished to the Minister of information. Why was that because it meant makkad in inadvertently employed as a film editor, somebody who was an enemy alien, he was an 18 v. Enemy alien I suppose he'd been in the Isle of Man, you know, all the sort of German nationals were sent to the Isle of Man and this chap had been I guess, released in May Mac are employed him as editor and immediately there was a terrible up people from the AC T. And because Mac was never very pro, you're not very cooperative with the union matters. And so this 18 v man, after a week or two was removed, and Mack, I think he probably resigned immediately, and he went to work up at the Ministry of Information on he had a cutting room up there, and he used to do films on an ad hoc basis for them. But that was why he didn't edit director Timothy, because he wasn't bad news before he went to Africa that he didn't go to Africa and will after the war, and the guy became visited by Al anon called Kenny how to Nell Gnosticism. But all the other ones, you know, 1000s were started and

Charlotte Jennings  41:49  
this listen to Britain. He was he was a co director,

Alan Lawson  41:54  
and he was good director and London can take it and family portrait was the battle.

Charlotte Jennings  42:01  
You're quite you're quite right. What

Alan Lawson  42:03  
What can you remember about Stuart McAllister when he these are the your dad.

Charlotte Jennings  42:10  
I only met Stuart McAllister a once or twice, and that I remember a seizure in Baker Street. This would be about 1954 55 was a sinner mine

Alan Lawson  42:29  
was a sinner on Baker Street call. Oh, that was one of the COI was in Nigeria house. All right. Yeah. Normally house in Vegas speaker is just sort of more or less opposite. The classic cinema.

Charlotte Jennings  42:40  
That's right. That's

Alan Lawson  42:43  
right. Unusual cinema, of course, as well as unusual cinema or Baker Street Station. Yes. Yeah. This is the one in Baker Street called the classic, which is still a cinema. In fact, it's called something else. But just opposite there. There was the temperature information, having been demoted after the war from administrative just had offices there. And there was a pub called a beehive where we all used to meet up after work. And there was a little sandwich bar. But yes, that's right. And there was a quite a nice cinema in bakery down in the basement. And that's where we that's where I saw a family portrait that day. In 1950. Would you bet McAllister they're doing

Charlotte Jennings  43:26  
well I see rather shy man.

Alan Lawson  43:29  
He acid moustache bald head is no but I mean,

Charlotte Jennings  43:33  
was his shot.

Alan Lawson  43:35  
And not very, not he could be rather sort of abrupt. He was in the wrong sort of mood.

Charlotte Jennings  43:42  
I don't remember being abrupt but he was very, he was very laconic. He didn't say very much.

Alan Lawson  43:49  
That's right here. Oh, no, he was not like he doesn't outgoing. No, no. And he talked quiet. You know, his name is Scott's voice and says I've listened interested that you've never actually apart from that ever met him. But I suppose there's no reason why you should have done because because you want America when he was doing those films.

Charlotte Jennings  44:11  
I think it was an utterly essential ingredient to to, to the films that he worked with par on. That's what I want to say, or want to express it like that. One of the reasons that Paul never finished his anthology of the Industrial Revolution pandemonium was because he was always finding more material to put in it. He was totally incapable of editing himself. And there is a story which I'm quite sure is true. That all whichever movie was was possibly listened to Britain that do lose more and more shots and it was presented him the cutting room and reef bites that this got to come out. And part of would leave whatever time he did in the evening and McAllister would stay on he would take things out on par knew this. And he'd get him before McAllister in the morning put him back in again. But I think the fact that he could, that that he was the editor that he was which power was not, he wasn't good at taking things out. Very good or putting them in No. Well,

Alan Lawson  45:36  
I certainly understand well, because the I that's why I always think it's so important to have a an editor who can look at stuff objectively not being involved in the shooting, and particularly that sort of stuff that your powers getting, which was so difficult to get and so crucial and, and to be able to look into objectionably and say, well, that always is marvellous, but it doesn't fit in, you know, we have to take it out. And well, it was a lot of stuff. And I wasn't there when they were making listen to Britain, but certainly there was a lot of stuff that was left out of diary for Timothy, which was not a distant biomek. But I remember we were held sequences. There was a whole sequence of the players theatre that was left out of director Timothy and that actually went into another film called The railwaymen and there was that nice some I call Leonard Sachs. You know, he was Yes, he was the chairman. And it was Archie howard dean and Jerome sterndale Bennett, and they were singing up a song called dad is on the engine. And it was in the rough cut right through for a long way. And then it was dropped. And then Mike Norton, Richard McNaughton, whom we interviewed some time ago, he made a film about railways that time 1946 47 and he started off the film with the sequence and director Timothy of Jensen Dale Bennett, singing dad is on the engine. And it was marvellous, you know, it'd be interesting to see that now, wouldn't it because there's a little bit of Humphrey Jennings work that has not been seen for a long time. Whether other examples of that aren't that are of course, like the Mara has film. The john Trump and Trump are made

Charlotte Jennings  0:01  
Side five, right? Ah, yes.

Unknown Speaker  0:05  
Well now,

Alan Lawson  0:05  
we've talked quite a bit about the films that actually, you know, obviously completed the repertoire. Now, what about the other films that he had in mind, which didn't get made or nearly got made and so on? You mentioned the London Symphony Orchestra from that would have been a wonderful subject from that potential

Charlotte Jennings  0:28  
at is it I don't remember the exact date, but it would be 4647

Alan Lawson  0:40  
right. So be early West 600.

Charlotte Jennings  0:43  
The London Symphony Orchestra was was preparing to celebrate 50 years since its founding, which I think was 1904. So it would actually be 1954 quite quite a few years in advance at that point, and the assistant director of wisdom GPA, on both the West productions of Demeter, Ireland and family portrait was Holly usul. And Holly, like, like PA, neither of them were musicians per se, had an enormous sensibility to to music. And, of course, after Paul's death, Harley set up the Argo record company, which when when Argos expanded into greater and more outside and elaborate productions, came under the wing of the Decca record company.

The idea was that were six would make a film off and for the London Symphony Orchestra, and its first 50 years, and Neil Matheson have

Alan Lawson  2:15  
been involved. Perhaps we didn't even get as far as that stage. I imagined it would have been because he was

Charlotte Jennings  2:24  
that, to be honest, john, I don't know that. And I say no.

Alan Lawson  2:28  
Because we are used mainly the London Symphony Orchestra in those days for the music sessions. Right. And indeed, instruments of the orchestra was London Symphony Orchestra. And so I would think that he would have come in very early on. Well, so yeah.

Charlotte Jennings  2:47  
So more power went to a number of the rehearsals. I had great fortune of going to one or two of them myself at the Royal Albert Hall. Joseph Crips was the conductor. They're great. Yeah. And it was a wonderful session on freezing cold Sunday morning, with Kathleen ferrier and coat with Crips and the elesa of course, rehearsing Marla's kindergarten leader, and she's so beautiful. And his wonderful voice. The warmth of this voice is warm. Listen, nor was freezing cold Royal Albert Hall. frosty, frosty December morning is that was 1946 a person and wrote, wrote what are called what he called mornings with the orchestra. Now that title mornings with the orchestra, it was the rehearsals. There were others at the Kingsway Hall I think with with then Malcolm as opposed to Sir Malcolm's not

Alan Lawson  4:07  
their regular conductor wasn't at that time it was.

Charlotte Jennings  4:14  
I'm feeling the Crips was did as it were a stint as regular conductor but certainly was. And that was soloists like more or less lamperti as well as the George Stratton. Leader George Stratton. Yes. Yes.

Alan Lawson  4:40  
And john miles on the viola.

Charlotte Jennings  4:42  
Oh, no, I don't think john john I don't think it was john massive, I think was ever involved in the lso. Yes,

Alan Lawson  4:48  
he was he was he was the orchestra. You can see you can see the back of the veil as well. I mean, you know, yes, it was definitely because I think I must have talked to him about it. said, you know, we did this filming. So the officer and he said, Oh, I was in that. And that's why I had a new look at the film. I've got it on tape you're sorry. Anyway.

Charlotte Jennings  5:13  
So, pa jotted down notes of what rehearsals were. The Happening of a rehearsal with the orchestra and the soloist and people who came in late, is very atmospheric and detailed. But the fact that he called the notes, the synopsis that he made towards this film on 51st 50 years, and Symphony Orchestra of mornings with the orchestra is he is taken from Ecto barrios, who wrote, whose memoirs are called SWAT at the low caste evenings with the orchestra. So that is a kind of what Mr. Pan really well, that film never came to anything.

Alan Lawson  6:07  
It only got to the sort of world was synopsis or in the research stage, is it? Well,

Charlotte Jennings  6:13  
I don't know what happened where the funding just wasn't there. And the pencil

Alan Lawson  6:17  
was the funding. I wonder who's going to finance it. It may be in British Council or somebody. Somebody

Charlotte Jennings  6:24  
on board. There was

Alan Lawson  6:29  
just it was about that time that me see, incidence of the orchestra was 1946. And that was London Symphony Orchestra. And then we ordered another one called steps to the valley, which was also with them. Oh, no, I suppose that would have been was sad as well as obviously wrote something. No. Okay. But it was about that time, there were a lot of musical films sort of being either made or planned. And there was another one going to be voices as the opera, which would again would have been cancelled.

Charlotte Jennings  7:02  
I seem to remember that our friend john Myers, Principal, the other player was beach, zero for a minute, and that Beecham re auditioned in 1947, said that john Mars would have gone to rockville.

Alan Lawson  7:23  
They started later. Didn't they roll filled? It wasn't wasn't going as early as 4748. I think they started about 1950. My hunch was, yeah, they hadn't been a roll. Phil had that before. They know it was a new orchestra because I I'm pretty certain

Charlotte Jennings  7:43  
Yes, it was the new orchestra. And I'm,

Alan Lawson  7:45  
you may be right,

Charlotte Jennings  7:46  
but certainly, certainly, john Myers had played in an orchestra that was

Alan Lawson  7:58  
conducted by beach, which

Charlotte Jennings  8:00  
was to speak a beach from orchestra. London Philharmonic,

Alan Lawson  8:04  
I wouldn't be in the London Philharmonic, London Philharmonic came along. I mean, during the war between came over from America and conducted the London Philharmonic at the Albert Hall because I was there for three of them. But that was, and then he went back to America. And then he came, continued with the London Philharmonic, until he set up his own orchestra, which was the Ralph in Monaco Should I guess is about 1950. Anyway, we've looked that up.

Charlotte Jennings  8:31  
There's I'm not quite sure where this come where this comes into and what film but Holly used to as assistant to dad. Yeah. Holly

Alan Lawson  8:43  
felt you as I double l

Charlotte Jennings  8:45  
Yes, that's great. went over in advance of pa the director to the house of circumspection in some John's would. And he didn't advance partially to, to inform Tomas, of how he was to compose himself. And in the presence of the director Empire apparently said, Now, Holly, you just tell us at Thomas beach. This you see is highly useful arrives at the big cast in St. John's Wood, and there is Beach City, right big, whopping great cigars. And Holly, who is quite shy actually. He said, Good morning, Sir Thomas. Morning, and the director has asked me to say to you, please don't over act. God is awesome. It is tarnish the usual beach and performances, not what was wanted. He wanted to at par also wanted to make A Midsummer Night's Dream. And he was of course a Shakespearean scholar as you wanted to make Midsummer Night's Dream in colour. I see I think he was the keirsey is that he was this athlete and he'd gone in July of 1952. Geneva for a meeting for it was the EEC, the European Economic Commission, who had who were commissioning these films are European recovery. And you've gone Geneva in July. And he came back whether it was late July or early August and he'd heard his back Oh, he'd slipped not in this wasn't winter tires. And normally a place actually never in the summers is whether it's good, whether it was you know, those paving stone was cracked or whatever. But when one thinks that he had gone through the Blitz and as was said earlier with near a scratch on him, which is of course the the virtually the last words in in fires were started when the munitions vessel reloaded with explosives is on the Thames and one of the farmers says the other site was sore I notice. Now, whether they genuinely was something like your rugs where you can trip yourself more whether he was very tense, because, you know, when when when when we're trends, we we we slip more easily always right. Side slightly obstructed or preoccupied? I think he, I think he was worried of a sense of direction.

Alan Lawson  12:35  
Because he did say he was very intensely thinker and caught up with ideas.

Charlotte Jennings  12:40  
You know, he did, he always said, If I'd had a private income, I would know I would just be an painter. But he did have a would he be able to say that he

Alan Lawson  12:53  
was perhaps very slightly accident prone because of his sort of slight? So we could call it absolute madness. We're not really sort of abstractness there are people like that hunter who was?

Charlotte Jennings  13:05  
I don't think so. No, I don't think so. I think that it was, I think it was much more likely to be a genuine. What do I do now? Because the the impetus of the Second World War had fed his his imagination and his abilities, and it was, it just flowed out of him. But now we had this uneasy peace and what was going to happen to Europe and, and his children were growing up, and, you know, there wasn't enough space, and what was he going to do a lot of things, you know, and crown crowns had folded or was about to fold, you know, and when he left cry,

Alan Lawson  13:56  
he didn't interest anymore crown is showing different sort of work by them.

Charlotte Jennings  14:02  
So, you know, it was, and at 43, I suppose you could say it was a midlife crisis.

Alan Lawson  14:13  
What was that series called? which involves equals something like the grand design with a hole in it. That was one of them was made, wasn't it? And I can't remember what it was called. And the one that he was doing in Greece, or planning in Greece. That was, that was the second one, isn't it? I understood that it was several films made for whatever organisation,

Charlotte Jennings  14:36  
it was the your European Economic Commission,

Alan Lawson  14:40  
European Economic Commission. And I wonder, where did that get funded from I suppose again, it

Unknown Speaker  14:49  
was a it was

Alan Lawson  14:50  
it being made through the central office?

Charlotte Jennings  14:52  
Was it being was it being funded through the Marshall Plan

Alan Lawson  14:55  
that might have been could have been new.

Charlotte Jennings  14:59  
I don't No,

Alan Lawson  15:00  
I think that Graham Wallace made one.

Charlotte Jennings  15:03  
Well, he he he worked on the one that Paul had so to speak started getting graded. Oh he was he was in Athens at that time was quit immediately after yes my father's death he there there are several letters that he wrote to mother arranging the funeral and and was it was the Greek embassy and various formalities.

Alan Lawson  15:33  
Right Yes. Because grandma and worked with him on Father's was started didn t and I remember grandma tea.

Charlotte Jennings  15:39  

Alan Lawson  15:40  
Cuz I remember you telling me that he was the person who used to whose job was to throw the Roman candles on her into the middle of the fire to get it sort of going.

Charlotte Jennings  15:52  
That's a good job.

Alan Lawson  15:54  
Good job in that famous final sequence. But Graham is heated look, record a lot of thumbs. So he did that one then. So I wonder what it was called. And whether that whether I

Charlotte Jennings  16:05  
think it was called the good life, the good life? It will I think it was a I think whether it was all going to have a whether the locations were purely going to be in Greece, I don't know. Because I have a feeling that the pets or lotze village village was was supposed to come into it as well.

Alan Lawson  16:31  
Interesting to look up the archive, because unfortunately, the centre of information has all sort of come to an end now all that library, and it's in the hands of a private company holding the archive. But unless the Imperial War Museum, because they've got a lot of those films. I think they made two I think they made two films. There was one the grant Wallace had directed before that one. Anyway, he so now, you said Midsummer Night's Dream.

Charlotte Jennings  17:05  
That was that that was that was an idea

Alan Lawson  17:08  
that didn't get get any further than just sort of

Charlotte Jennings  17:10  
it was an idea that it was going to be

Alan Lawson  17:15  
yes. And and then they will you said that he was working on a script screenplay for the purple plane out and went out to

Charlotte Jennings  17:27  
I don't know why that fell flat on its face. But that would have been UCA his second

Alan Lawson  17:31  
go at a proper feature. Yes. Ordinary conventional. He base isn't it?

Charlotte Jennings  17:38  
stunning, stunning. photographs in Burma. Stunning. Really?

Unknown Speaker  17:43  
How long? Was

Alan Lawson  17:44  
he out there for? zoom was the

Charlotte Jennings  17:48  
john I don't know. I don't know. Several months. I see it was remembered.

Unknown Speaker  17:55  

Unknown Speaker  17:58  

Charlotte Jennings  17:59  
the purple plemmons eventually made by directed by Robert Parrish, I

Alan Lawson  18:03  
guess I have a preset notes in my mind

Charlotte Jennings  18:07  
Peter Finch in it. The purple

Alan Lawson  18:11  
plane was made in 1954 and Gregory Peck, hand was in it and Morris denim and Brenda de benzi and Bernard Lee and Anthony Bushnell and ramgopal. And it was the screenplay was by eric ambler from making beats, and it was directed by Robert Parrish and photographed by Geoffrey Unsworth, and it was a gene GFD two cities production produced by john brown as he got us got one star from Leslie Halliwell said the psychological study and Eastern adventure combined not the best of either but have put in too crowded polar as a typical typical thumbnail that Halliwell so what else now? Any other did he have other plans for further filming any other subjects?

Charlotte Jennings  19:20  
Not that I know of.

Alan Lawson  19:25  
I just go back to Stuart McAllister again, I thought perhaps I was didn't sort of say enough about him because he was such a remarkable Film Editor. And he was quite different from the normal. He wasn't the man who said you know as a writer, I want all these rushes all lined up. I want to put on the gloves and he'd he'd go into the cutting room McAllister and he just simply on the flat bench he would get hold of a roll of rushes and you just wind very slowly through. Looking at it the way you did you know just looking at his sideways not Putting it through a drum machine at all movies. And he'd wind backwards and forwards. And then he'd go away, have a cup of tea and have a smoke, come back again. And then of course, he, he likes working when everybody had gone home, you know, like working late. And I think I never actually I wasn't his assistant, but I had sort of seen him at work. And he used to take out shots just occasionally and hang up that might possibly be useful. He worked quite differently from anybody else. He worked as a true artists really. And that's why the two of them going on chemistry work with those two. And your father being able to say he wasn't an editor wasn't really too happy in the cartoon. I know that too. JOHN trumper practically had a nervous breakdown. When Humphrey came into the cutting room and Jenny had wasn't there and and Humphrey wanted to look at a lot of shots. And so he got one of these cans and wound them down onto the floor, you know, and the left john could hit pile of stuff. Well, I mean, if you're, if you're the director, and he wants to see the things and that's the way you do it, that unless you happen to be in an editor to start with, then you would be more concerned i'd overflow it was clean nitrate film to

Charlotte Jennings  21:31  
now. Well, I

Alan Lawson  21:33  
had the same with Justin Jackson, who was where she was an editor who always used to get it film all over the floor. It's really hard work for the assistants when you have to pick up the bits and have it ready for the following morning. No, we used to get I use this anytime I think that I ever lost sleep working in films when I was an assistant and and there's all that film and I used to have nightmares about it coming spring out of the cans.

Charlotte Jennings  22:01  
Awful these snakes. Yeah, that's right.

Unknown Speaker  22:06  

Charlotte Jennings  22:07  

Alan Lawson  22:09  
Medusa. Just chip McAlister, he did a lot of very good films. I mean, apart from he, I think he edited talking for the night and what else and then he was often Africa for some years with a somebody called Kingston Davis shooting films. And then he joined British transport films to McAllister he was the supervising editor when I joined. And it was through him that I joined British transport films because I, I'd worked. I knew him through the crown film, and it's in the past. And he was Edgar's, supervising editor and associate producer for many years. But he was quite a quirky man. Quite, quite difficult, very demanding.

As a supervising editor, particularly he did he had disapproved a widescreen.

Yes, and, you know, when the sort of widescreen came in, as opposed to Academy masking, and we used to allow for widescreen screening when we shot the stuff, but it's a just conventional, it wasn't anamorphic anything, but some cameraman like to see their rushes on wide screen to see what they would look like, you know, when they're showing the cinemas, McAllister refused to watch the rushes. If they were on widescreen, he said I want to see the whole frame. When you when you take out that lens and put it in the grid, and then I'll come and see the rushes that sort of thing. He was very,

Charlotte Jennings  23:45  
actually this is very, this is very much like something that father said in in Greece to Dylan Barry said when continuity is that in the construction, whether you're talking about films or or painting or writing is that you want to be very careful not to take out what appears to be insubstantial, the little tiny word or the this or that that are very often the structure of the whole thing. You can take out a whole passage, just leave out that sequence, but don't take out what appears not to have importance, because you find it that is the that is

Alan Lawson  24:41  
the weight or something.

Charlotte Jennings  24:42  
It carries the I was gonna say the flavour the significance of it.

Alan Lawson  24:50  
He told me about talking about the picture and sound helpers. I mean it might be a word in the sentence or or a scene are a part of a shot we all know or even, you know, allowing a shot to go on long enough. You know, sometimes the editors like to get, keep it short. But by taking a piece out, you might get lose an emphasis on you

Charlotte Jennings  25:14  
remember, you remember the theme the children dancing in the playground is Britain to Britain. And they go clockwise and they go anti clockwise. And one of the little girls make some mistake, because without that, you know, if he's just ordinary kids dancing in the playground, it doesn't it doesn't really say anything. But the fact that the human error element is the one who thinks Yes, I think this is this is that's a

Alan Lawson  25:52  
sort of a slightly sort of charming rather natural, a natural mistake, which is very much part of assess, right who would have been as you say, with ordinary otherwise, although it's very nice, some little movements they were doing the clapping your hands that that and then you had to cut to the red gun carriers coming past that was a very typical Stuart McAllister editing I would say I mean, that was back at his best and obviously working in the tourism issue of quite right they both got the similar credit, didn't they? Just it was filmed was made by Humphrey Jennings and Stuart McAllister, or directed by was

Charlotte Jennings  26:35  
directed, directed, edited and directed and edited by

Alan Lawson  26:39  
nonprint. Jennings and Stuart McAllister. like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, you know, written and produced by and directed by that was the only time I think that the Mac and again, I suppose, you know, that would probably be burning the midnight oil and getting inspirations and they, they used to go walking around day at night, London, the Mac told me when they were working, I suppose they cut it. Blackheath would would listen to rip rackheath, or would it be denim? But I know that they were out and about quite a bit during that sort of time of the bombings just being part of London, in the middle of war and and of course, it came over so strongly didn't didn't those films. I don't know what modern generation think of it. Well, you've seen it happen with your university people in Australia, how did they How did they receive those films when you ran them?

Charlotte Jennings  27:48  
Well this afraid is I can't really, I can't really say, because I've actually deleted out of this, that I was reading on it. Because I said, we'll divide the session into three parts. Just a brief on father's life and work and achievement. And then the film's leaving plenty of time for you to ask me any questions that you'd like to watch? I hope you may. So we got to the end of the films. And thank you very much for me. And as I said, not any questions?

Alan Lawson  28:39  

Charlotte Jennings  28:40  
And I have a friend and Australian friend who teaches dramatic studies at another university near to Perth, and and I said Marie, he was there the screen? Yes. Did you know I don't know what that what the felt.

Unknown Speaker  29:02  
where people are very interested. And they're still mulling over what's been said. They haven't got time to think of question.

Alan Lawson  29:11  
They would think about it afterwards as in,

Unknown Speaker  29:15  
I find this.

Charlotte Jennings  29:17  
It's you know, I've personally found a little bit disconcerting, because if you're not getting any feedback, and you wonder, did what does it mean to them?

Alan Lawson  29:28  
generally a good idea if it's like a chairman, can I ask you just a chairman, can I ask you a question then you can respond to people off it's happened the other evening at BAFTA You know, when this Kathy Burke was being interviewed to begin with, nobody asked me questions, that huge audience and after and then direct Malcolm dasara question and, and then it's then hands started going up and couldn't stop them. Absolutely current.

Unknown Speaker  29:53  

Unknown Speaker  29:55  

Alan Lawson  29:56  
what was the projection like?

Charlotte Jennings  30:01  
The projection wasn't bad. But but a deep print of is I knew this would have been Timothy I think, right at the end. And so not exactly 10 years ago, I presented some some films at the Perth Cultural Centre in association with the film and television Institute. And they had plenty new prints and I've never seen anything so good at the bridge. So and so I found out where the prints would be being hired from which was the, what's called the Alexandra library in the Perth Cultural Centre. And I asked to speak to the boss. And and I said, you know, do you check your films? Because it's not very good. So we asked, we check

Alan Lawson  31:10  
out all those bits of the tone, you know, we joined up.

Charlotte Jennings  31:12  
Yeah. And I said, well, yours. Very great pity because both for the students and in a sense for as I represent being an ambassador, on behalf not only of my father but of Great Britain

Alan Lawson  31:33  
could be in pristine condition.

Charlotte Jennings  31:35  
But it's people like you who've grown up, it does help an awful lot.

Alan Lawson  31:41  
Yeah, but it's terribly important for the UK, particularly if it's a 16 middle showing or No, it isn't. And you may not have a very large screen, but it's

Charlotte Jennings  31:51  
exactly I

Alan Lawson  31:52  
have the prints absolutely spot on and check the sound and know otherwise. Otherwise, you know, if he's got little bits missing and salad bit watery, then no impact. So there's nothing there's

Charlotte Jennings  32:03  
no impact. No, no. See, I see. I think that there are still a lot of people. It's like, it's like art students who say, Oh, you have seen reproduction, you know, but it's in the National Gallery. Go and look at it. Yes. Because you got the physical presence of the actual work. And if films that Oh, yeah, I've seen spare time. Yes. No, that one Oh, yes. It obviously in that job is is if it's a bad print, you're not going to get the impact of perspective.

Alan Lawson  32:37  
That's why I think television is so good now. Because then they take an immense amount of trouble over print quality, although you're only seeing it on a small screen. I

Charlotte Jennings  32:46  
mean, I got this so good. I mean, you go to go to a rock band, and, you know, the instruments are all dusters. Oh, yeah. We went we went there last Saturday. We went to

Alan Lawson  33:00  
Yeah, we happen to be there. And therefore it's a vexed question that that I would have thought that those films shown an ideal condition, like listen to Britain would be just as powerful to have more so but because of the young generation such a long time ago that it would be their grandfather's telling them about it rather than their fathers.

Charlotte Jennings  33:29  
I had a nice little interview in Manchester, in doo doo doo doo doo doo in June of 1982. And it was just the the onset of the Falklands War. And I was asked to come into PVC worship studio in manager in Manchester. And I said all that this was at the time of in the retrospective of dad's work would you've gone up from Riverside studios in Hammersmith, here in London, and we've gone up to the Bolton Art Gallery, very much tied up with with with with spare time and around the photographs of Humphrey spender and mass observation. And so the interviewer said, Do you think that the films of your father are relevant for us today? And I say, Well, if you look at words for battle, and you apply to the Falklands War today is to the beginning of the Second World War. I think you'll find it just as persistent.

Alan Lawson  34:52  
That must have been rather interesting occasion. What else did they show him?

Charlotte Jennings  34:58  
Oh, there it is. Demand dad. I think it went on for several weeks and then then the show went to Nottingham. Oh, really? I

Alan Lawson  35:08  
didn't know. That was originally This is the riverside? Yep. package as it were

Unknown Speaker  35:13  
going up to

Alan Lawson  35:15  
Bolton. Why did they choose bold or why was built? And because of that?

Charlotte Jennings  35:23  
Because of mass objection. I spare time. And a lot of the paintings and photographs for the project were done in underground Voltron.

Alan Lawson  35:38  
Would it be relevant? Well, it would be really to talk a little bit more about the mass observation and when it was, at what point? Well, he only got so far. And because it was something it was an ongoing,

Charlotte Jennings  35:51  
it was an ongoing, yes. Well, there is the mass observation

Alan Lawson  36:00  
survey, which is about that sort of report

Charlotte Jennings  36:04  
is started just for the coronation. I think

Alan Lawson  36:07  
as early as that was it? Yes.

Charlotte Jennings  36:08  
It was first kind of market research how Really?

Alan Lawson  36:15  
Yes, market research. But who are the three people? The four people or perhaps I'm forgetting?

Charlotte Jennings  36:20  
I'm Tom Harrison. I'm Harrison. Charles, man.

Alan Lawson  36:37  
So I mean, from the point of view of me, it was a photographic exercise, wasn't it? I mean, outwardly.

Unknown Speaker  36:46  
And that was

Alan Lawson  36:49  
it was Will you say sorry,

Charlotte Jennings  36:52  
but it was? No, it was more the documentation written documentation of what ordinary people were doing on a particular day. Yeah, a rather special day, but

Alan Lawson  37:14  
one particular day and, and backed up by the Fed. The photographs are What I remember most I never actually am. I regret to say I haven't read that book. pandemonium.

Charlotte Jennings  37:27  
Well, it's not penbode Smith, mass observation survey, and book which was came out in paperback.

Alan Lawson  37:41  
Sort of

Charlotte Jennings  37:47  
May the 12th, mass object observation surveys re published in 8787? Yeah.

Alan Lawson  38:00  
Then Yes.

Unknown Speaker  38:01  

Alan Lawson  38:04  
no, perhaps there's not much more to be said about that. I was thinking about it from the sort of those things wonderful photographs.

Charlotte Jennings  38:11  
Yes. photographs, wonderful photographs.

Unknown Speaker  38:17  
But they hadn't met with that unfortunate accident in Greece. How do you think he would have gone on from there if everything had been okay? Because he seemed to want something to spur him on to make good films for the war. There was nothing going on at this time. So what do you suppose he would have done?

Charlotte Jennings  38:42  
All right. He said, Dave, he was very adamant about certain things. He refused to have a record player weren't that are very nice radio, which was the first one on first FM signals just after the war. That was very good. It was specially built for a top quality music. But he wouldn't have a record player. And he said, I will never have television until those colour terrible television. Whether you would whether you would have gone into television. I don't know. It's it's difficult because mother with this dreadful accident, and mother was I think the only thing one could say is Beatrice went into a great depression. And she didn't want to talk about it. And she could be honest, Deb I would say that none of us properly went through a grief process. And he his paintings had it were turned against the wall. Oh, it was it was out there. There are several months immediately after his death that I do not remember at all. We just don't remember it. Not. You see, he died on the line and in for us. He's buried it the British semuc Cemetery in Athens, which is basically for those those who died in action, literally war. Soldiers and Sailors namun is beautiful, beautiful Sarah cemetery. But obviously, it's offered to mother that the body be flown back here, or that we be flown there for the funeral. She refused birth. She never during our lifetime even went to Greece. Remote Control, she sent over 25 pounds a year for the grave to be cleaned and for flowers to be put on only on the anniversary of his death. But it was, and there was a film made for the BBC, directed by a Hungarian Robert Vash. was from misstep made in the 60s john, was it late 60s, or something like that? And Robert interviewed my mother and said, what was your first reaction when you got the news? And she said I was so angry. You left me so often allow your free effort. And that if you really want not too fast, not one. And she became as this ship eventually, no, not eventually, a few years later converted to Roman Catholicism. But she then became it was rarely silent, tight, difficult, and didn't want to talk. And I remember her saying wrote a letter to a Jew Edgar Elstree, she'd gone to a screening of the SN t f that we use,

Alan Lawson  42:27  

Charlotte Jennings  42:29  
know, the Society of you know, before, before it was BAFTA,

Alan Lawson  42:34  
what was it called? FTA.

Charlotte Jennings  42:36  
She was a member of this and she went to a screening of some films. And Edgar and Daphne answered you with an exquisite or a harsh metal where they called her Mrs. Jennings or Sicily. I said, Oh, please, at the end, may we buy you a drink? And mother refused, really refused. And she got back home. And she went into absolute self torture, I should have accepted it. better, right sound sorry, and what can definitely absorb but it's just absolutely cut out. And she went on, she went on seeing all her favourite films and all new new films, but she out there, you know, is

Alan Lawson  43:32  
sort of understand her state of mind. Actually, it does make sense in a way doesn't it? always sort of going away.

Charlotte Jennings  43:39  
The emotions that she felt was torturous. I think she really felt she'd been let down. And never been any money. And, and, and really, the was the one pound. Dad never earned rojek know what his salary was with crown. There were no, there were no royalties because they were all government films, you know, so he was 42.

Alan Lawson  44:13  
He might bit more if he if he did manage a purple plane, I must say.

Charlotte Jennings  44:18  
But he was so extravagant. Because all these books just before we went to Greece, he went to an antiquarian bookshop. And she bought this is 1950 he bought a book, about 12 inches high, quite sick, which was on parrots, and it was hand tinted. It was a 19th century book. And he paid 25 pounds for it God and so when he does is a joint bank account and there's a miserable one pound marilou and I growing up We need new uniforms to go to school Creek brown our autism. We're going to pay the rent, how are you going to pay the rent? And this is damn book Tintin. And mother had to go back and they gave her 25th. She can't

Alan Lawson  45:15  
get the money, right.

Charlotte Jennings  45:19  
And this is a professional family. And she's a lady. She I mean, she was absolutely a lady. And the indignity of the hat again, ran because there was the memorial service at the skylight in Charlotte Street. And so

Alan Lawson  45:39  
I remember that was a wonderful Memorial tribute to women's a scholar in Charlotte Street. That was a wonderful, wonderful show. You were there. Of course. We're in Sri Lanka before we met. Yeah, it was it was 1950. It was 1950. It was

Charlotte Jennings  46:00  
I think, was just just after Christmas, or maybe it was 51 on January 51.

Alan Lawson  46:06  
I've got a little booklet on that and all those years, but yeah, very interesting. Yes, I've got two minutes. Yeah, we're nearly at the end of this juice. Are we are we getting near the end of

Charlotte Jennings  46:22  
it? We could. I think I can't answer your question, Dave. I don't know. But But thanks for the marvellous movies that someone was paintings. Writing and just wishes wish. wish to hear.

Alan Lawson  46:43  
Thank you very much as some great, very good.

Unknown Speaker  46:56  
That was not the end. The interview continues on side six. So please turn over

Alan Lawson  0:01  
So six. Now Shall I gather you have something else to tell us? 

Charlotte Jennings  0:09  
That right? As you will recall, Dave asked me a john. What did I consider? Father would have done had been lived. Magic recall, it was a bit vague. We were a bit vague. Let's be somewhat more positive. Many of his colleagues considered that he had the best of his work ahead of him. Exactly what that work would have been with obesity. We don't know that. That certainly was the you know, the general feeling Yes, that's right. I remember. I remember that being said myself. You do. Yeah. But when when we were still working at Beaconsfield, that time was 19 1500 years. Actually, in France as a, an artist is referred to as La run in Napa calm Tom, which is he's a young one, he's only 40. And as in the accumulation of experience and technique through to the age of 14 and natural father was 43. At his death, the the statement that he had his best work ahead of him, makes a great deal of sense. Right. I'd like to conclude in this way. I'd like to leave the last words to Jennings himself into his poems. They are an otter Biograph of his vision, the immense importance he laid on the image and the imagination. I see London. I see in London, I see the dome of St. Paul's, like the forehead of Darwin. I see London, stretching away north, the Northeast, along dockside roads and balloon haunted allotments where the black plumes of the horses proceed, and the White Helmets of the rescue squad follow. I see London, I see the grey waters of Thames, like a loving nurse unchanged, unruffled flooding between bridges and washing up Wharf steps, and endless flowing eternity that smooths away the sorrows of beautiful churches, the pains of time, the wrecks of artistry along her divine banks, to whom the strongest towers are better moments mark, and the deepest cleaving bomb, and untold regret. I see London at night, I look up in the moon and see the visible moving vapour trails of invisible nightflyers I see a luminous glow beyond Covent Garden. I see in mind's eye the statue of Charles the first riding in double darkness of night and corrugated iron on the corrugated on ice rink rays of fresh flowers. I see the black helmeted night and the blue helmeted morning, I see the rise of the red helmeted sun, and at last, at the end of Gerrard Street. I see the white helmeted day, like go rescue man, searching out the bottomless dust, the secrets of another life. I see 1000 strange sights in the streets of London. I see the clock on both church burning in daytime. I see a one legged man crossing the fire on crutches. I see three negros and a woman with white face powder. reading music at half past three in the morning. I see an ambulance girl with her arm. Full of roses, I see the burnt drums of philarmonic I see the green leaves of Lincolnshire, carried through London on the wrecked body of an aircraft. The second prime is in titled as I look. As I look out to the window on the roof scape of smoke, the factory chimneys standing up as rocks stand in the sea, the glistening slates lying along what would be the shore. As I look into the mist and let my vision dive, as Coro and compania. When the sun descended, mix the paints together. I perceive in the grey picture, all the colours that were once there not only the simple divisions of the prison, brilliant iron ore, peacock coloured coal, I perceive also the queues of men who built the city. The quarry men cutting the slate, the furnace men, men underground, men felling, timber, each a brain of a curious skill, or not of passions, breathing, being living soul, each slate in its place. Everyone put there by a man, this smoke itself which swirls and settles like flakes of snow, all got out of the earth, under the earth by men. And all this work, coloured with men's blood, men's ideas, men's fancies and regrets. coloured with love, friendships, hates, unspoken wishes, outspoken words. And now, like the see each individual wave, individual work, washes and mixes in with the rest. And the exact day fades and the exact man yet to the mind's eye that looks out this evening, and dives into the depths. Every single colour is still there. Nothing loss. Not one of the things done. Not one man who's cutting produced the littlest part of what I see him the whole, but is represented by some stroke of brush like of snow speck of suit in a picture of how many million touches.

Unknown Speaker  8:27  
Thank you very much, john.

Charlotte Jennings  8:28  
Very good. Thank you, john. And thank you, Dave.


Daughter of Humphrey Jennings