On Disc at Amazon. Related News Full steam ahead review: Share this Rating Title: Night Mail 6. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Learn more More Like This. Henry Oscar, Hope Davy, C. The Plow That Broke the Plains Nanook of the North Allakariallak, Alice Nevalinga, Cunayou. The Seashell and the Clergyman The Faithful Heart Statues also Die Chronicle of a Summer Angelo, Nadine Ballot, Catherine.
Them Thar Hills Edit Cast Credited cast: Edit Storyline Shows the special train on which mail is sorted, dropped and collected on the run, and delivered in Scotland overnight.
Edit Did You Know? Trivia The shots of the interior of the carriage where the mail is sorted were filmed in a studio. With the processed film ready in the morning, Jackson would take a postal train back to Crewe where the team could view the footage at a local cinema before it opened at 2: Having viewed the footage, they would return to the station and set up the equipment to capture the next minute stop.
Wright was responsible for the aerial shots of the train from a hired aircraft, while Watt filmed the interior and location shots. They were instructed to sway from side to side to recreate the motion of the moving train which was accomplished by following the movement of a suspended piece of string.
Attempts to film while shaking the camera also failed as it merely produced a wobbly shot. Wright later thought it was "one of the most beautifully organised shots" of the entire film. They adopted the term when the unit had missed a shot. Fowle is credited with capturing several dramatic shots, including the mail bag being dropped off into a trackside net at high speed.
To do this, he leaned out of the coach where the metal arm reached outward while his two colleagues held onto his legs, and got the shot just before the arm quickly swung back upon contact. The crew had even placed their sound van onto a bogie coupled behind a train and travelled up and down a stretch of line for an entire day, but the overall sound drowned it out. Jackson proceeded to push the engine back and forth along the track at the same speed as the train in the picture which produced the sound they needed.
During the construction of the sorting coach set, Watt, Jones, and Jackson were assigned an engine to themselves and travelled up and down Beattock Summit in Scotland several times.
This included another dangerous shot captured by Jackson, after attempts to take footage of the driver's cab produced film that was too dark. To solve this, Jackson sat atop of the coal pile in the locomotive's tender while holding a reflective sheet made with silver paper that acted as a mirror to make subjects brighter.
As he filmed, the train passed a bridge which knocked the reflector off and narrowly missed his head. Watt still had more footage to capture, however, wishing for a coda that showed an engine being cleaned and serviced at the end of the journey before starting its next one.
After viewing a rough assembly of the film, Grierson, Wright, and Cavalcanti agreed that a new ending was needed. Watt expressed his disagreement with the idea at first, but came round to it when it presented the opportunity in shooting additional footage and using previously shot film that was could not be used to complete the sequence.
Auden's poem for the sequence, entitled "Night Mail", was written at the film unit's main office in Soho Square. Many lines from the original version were discarded and became "crumpled fragments in the wastepaper basket",  including one that described the Cheviot Hills by the English-Scottish border as "uplands heaped like slaughtered horses" that Wright considered too strong for the landscape that was shot for it.
The sequence begins slowly before picking up speed, so that by the last-but-one verse, assistant and narrator Stuart Legg speaks at a breathless pace, which involved several pauses in recording so he could catch his breath. The "Huh" sound was located and marked down on the audio tape to show where he was to continue. Around the time of Auden's arrival at the GPO, Cavalcanti suggested to Grierson that he hire year-old English composer Benjamin Britten to contribute music to the film department, including the musical score for Night Mail.
The music was recorded at the Blackheath studio,  Jackson claimed Britten had only used five musicians, all of whom were hand picked. After the poem sequence was finalised, the remaining sound recording which included the narrative commentary.
Wright thought Jackson's voice was suitable for the part and suggested it to him. Jackson agreed, but disliked the sound of his voice upon playback: The film premiered on 4 February at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in Cambridge    as one of the films presented at the launch screening at the venue.
Night Mail was promoted with a largely successful advertising campaign to aid its release. The GPO commissioned posters, special screenings, and other soft publicity opportunities, taking advantage of the glamorous image and popularity of railway films to promote Night Mail. Unlike other GPO films, which were primarily screened in schools, professional societies, and other small venues, Night Mail was shown in commercial cinemas as an opening for the main feature.
However, poor contracts for short documentary films meant Night Mail failed to make a significant profit despite its high viewership. The set includes 96 minutes of bonus features, including the sequel Night Mail 2. First, the postal system is complex and must function under the auspices of a national government in order to thrive. Second, the postal system is a model of modern efficiency, and third, postal employees are industrious, jovial, and professional.
Grierson also articulated a desire to reflect "Scottish expression" and unity between England and Scotland with Night Mail. Fulton points out effective film editing to build suspense on everyday operations, such as the mail bags being caught by the track side nets. The scene is "humanized" with the new starter learning the task and lasts no longer than 90 seconds, yet it comprises 58 shots, averaging under two shots per second.
Fulton compared its construction to that of Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein. The film utilises three contrasting techniques to convey its meaning. First, Night Mail portrays the daily activities of the postal staff on a human scale, with colloquial speech and naturalistic vignettes, like sipping beer and sharing inside jokes. This was the approach favoured by Watt, who apprenticed under ethnographic filmmaker Robert Flaherty.
Second, Night Mail uses expressionistic techniques like heavy back lighting and the lyric poetry of Auden to convey the grand scale of the postal endeavour.
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