Saturday, November 5, 2016

Night Mail (1936)

I recorded the documentary Night Mail, which aired last Wednesday night as part of TCM's salute to the documentary genre. This 1936 short tells of the workings of a mail express train which takes mail from London up to Scotland. The train works overnight, leaving London in the evening and picking up mail and dropping some off along the way. Meanwhile, there are workers inside sorting all the mail so that it can get to its destinations more quickly. Remember, this was in the days before postal codes made sorting the mail easier.

The film has some prominent involvement. Poet W.H. Auden wrote a poem that's recited in the closing music; this poem is set to the music of Benjamin Britten. And the sound department is credited to Cavalcanti, he of Dead of Night fame among others.

The movie is available on Youtube; I'm not certain about the copyright status since it was produced by the Royal Mail's General Post Office Film Unit.

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