Night Mail

Night Mail

Harry Watt (1936)

U Certificate


Our Score
The jewel of British cinema in the 1930s was the documentary movement presided over by John Grierson (the man who coined the term "documentary" for factual films), and this evocative short is one of its finest examples. Directed by Harry Watt and Basil Wright for the GPO Film Unit, and with Grierson and Stuart Legg providing the commentary, the film transforms the dry statistics about the operation of the London-Glasgow mail train into a film poem. The beautiful shots of steaming engines and stunning scenery, the rhythmic cutting, Benjamin Britten's pulsing score and WH Auden's adroit verses combine to delight both the ear and eye.


Harry Watt and Basil Wright's documentary following the mail train to Scotland from London, accompanied by Pat Jackson reading WH Auden's rhyming verse and a score composed by Benjamin Britten.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Pat Jackson
Director Harry Watt
Director Basil Wright

Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Cinema ContactAvailable on: video and DVD