Benjamin Britten: British Documentaries

1. COAL FACE (1935-England). Produced by JOHN GRIERSON. Music by BENJAMIN BRITTEN. Grierson was the esteemed founder of the British documentary movement. In this moving cinematic essay, he relayed a note of protest against the dangerous conditions endured by Great Britain’s miners. The powerful images of the coal workers toiling in the refineries placed a determined call for labor reform. The sobering visuals were edited to an experimental rhythmic verse soundtrack created by Benjamin Britten, one of Britain’s top composers. 2. INSTRUMENTS OF THE ORCHESTRA (1947-England). With THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. Introduced by MALCOLM SARGENT. Directed by MUIR MATHIESON. Music by BENJAMIN BRITTEN. This scintillating short presents an opportunity for music lovers to scrutinize the many parts that altogether make up an orchestra. Famed conductor Malcolm Sargent clearly and concisely analyzes the woodwinds, brass, strings and percussion instruments for audiences of all ages to appreciate. The narration is most informative, and the music is delightful. 3. STEPS OF THE BALLET (1950-England). With ROBERT HELPMANN. Directed by MUIR MATHIESON. Music by ARTHUR BENJAMIN. World-famous dancer and choreographer Robert Helpmann guides viewers through the various stages of a new ballet being mounted. Starting with an explanation of the most basic ballet steps, this exhilarating documentary eventually takes the audience through rehearsals and on to opening night. Well-trained dancers demonstrate the painstaking work involved in the presentation of a polished ballet production. 57 minutes total. Documentary