Love Letters and Live Wires: Highlights from the GPO Film Unit

Dir: various various




In 1933, the General Post Office made history by founding its own film production unit.

The GPO Film Unit would become internationally renowned as a centre for creative, exciting public information films, leaving us perhaps the most evocative record of the 1930s zeitgeist on celluloid.

This selection of some of its greatest short films, newly restored by the BFI National Archive, showcases the Unit’s sheer range: from quintessential documentary (Night Mail) to avant-garde animation (Trade Tattoo) and even musical comedy (The Fairy of the Phone).

Made by such varied talents as Grierson, Cavalcanti, Len Lye and Norman McLaren, the films bring alive a revolution in mass communications as epoch-changing then as the internet is now.

While dispensing clear and entertaining instructions on the use of such new-fangled devices as the post code, the telephone or the air mail service, they brilliantly promote the GPO’s contribution to workplace efficiency, world trade and smoothing the path of true love.

This special touring programme marks the 75th anniversary this year of both the BFI and the GPO Film Unit. Presented by the BFI in partnership with Royal Mail, The British Postal Museum & Archive and BT Heritage.

N or NW | Len Lye | 1938

Love on the Wing | Norman McLaren | 1939

The Fairy of the Phone | William Coldstream | 1936

The Horsey Mail | Pat Jackson | 1938

Trade Tattoo | Len Lye | 1937

A Midsummer Day’s Work | No director credited | 1939

The Tocher | Lotte Reiniger | 1938

Night Mail | Harry Watt, Basil Wright | 1936

Booking Information



Release Date

19 September 2008

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