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A Day in the Life: Four Portraits of Post-War Britain on dual format in March

9 February 2011

Fresh from a successful theatrical release in November 2010, as part of the BFI's Boom Britain project, John Krish's unforgettable film quartet is set for a Dual Format realease (containing both DVD and BFI) with extras including two previously unreleased films and a director interview.

Until last autumn, John Krish was one of British cinema's best-kept secrets: an unsung master of post-war documentary filmmaking who repeatedly turned his works, for sponsors as diverse as the Central Office of Information and the NSPCC, into truly stirring cinema to rank alongside the world's greatest directors. Both critical and audience reaction to A Day in the Life: Four Portraits of Post-War Britain has deservedly brought long-overdue recognition to this most modest but brilliant of filmmakers.

This celebrated programme contains four of Krish's most cherished films: The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953), a poetic farewell to London's trams; They Took Us to the Sea (1961), a poignant record of a seaside outing for disadvantaged children; Our School (1962), charting the beliefs of educators, and the aspirations of the decade's young school-leavers; and I Think They Call Him John (1964), a deeply moving account of the life of an elderly widower.

In each of these films – richly textured with the details of Britain in a time of transition – Krish combines an understated humanism with clarity of purpose to create works that are timelessly affecting and entertaining.

Although some of John Krish's work has previously been featured on BFI DVD compilations, including Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post War Britain 1951-1977, Stop! Look! Listen! The COI Collection Vol 4 and The British Transport Films Collection Volume Seven: The Age of the Train (which features what may well be his best known work, the chillingly effective warning film The Finishing Line, 1976), this is the first time that his work has been collected together in a single dedicated volume.


A Day in the Life: Four Portraits of Post-War Britain will be released on UK DVD by the BFI on 28th March 2011 at the RRP of £19.99. All films transferred from elements preserved in the BFI National Archive, and presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition (Blu-ray and DVD), and special Features will include:

  • I Want to Go to School (John Krish, 1959, 30 mins): a charming portrait of a typical day at a primary school, made for the NUT;
  • Mr Marsh Comes to School (John Krish, 1961, 28 mins): a distinctly unorthodox film for teenagers, featuring a supernaturally talented Youth Employment Officer;
  • New interview with John Krish at BFI Southbank (2010, 19 mins, DVD only);
  • Illustrated booklet with film notes and essays by John Krish, Kevin Brownlow, BFI Senior Curator (Non Fiction) Patrick Russell and others.