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Humphrey Jennings

From Academic Kids

Humphrey Jennings (August 19 1907 Walberswick, Suffolk - September 24 1950 Greece) was a British film-maker and one of the founders of the Mass Observation organisation.

After graduating with a starred First in English from Pembroke College, Cambridge, Jennings did a number of jobs before finding his niche in John Grierson's GPO Film Unit.

In 1936 Jennings helped with the organisation of the 1936 Surrealist Exhibition in London. It was at about this time that Jennings became involved in the start-up stages of Mass Observation, and was to make the film May the Twelfth as a montage of the 1937 coronation for Mass Observation.

With the outbreak of World War II, the GPO Film unit became the Crown Film Unit, a movie-making propaganda arm of the Ministry of Information, and Jennings joined the new organisation.

Jennings made only one feature length film, Fires Were Started (1943), also known as I Was A Fireman, a wartime propaganda movie detailing the work of the Auxiliary Fire Service, which blurred the lines between fiction and documentary. This film, which uses techniques such as montage is considered one of the classics of the genre.

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