Grahame N's Web Pages


EMPIRE FILM LIBRARY
9.5MM CATALOGUE



Front cover of the Central Film Library Empire Films catalogue


Just when I assumed that we had identified all the suppliers of 9.5mm printed films in the UK then prolific 9.5mm film historian Maurice Trace comes up with yet anotther source! So a fairly simple page; I have basically used the scans that Maurice has provided. An alphabetical listing is also compiled lower down. So read on for details of the 9.5mm printed film releases in the Empire Film Library!

I've discovered that the Empire Film Library was formed in 1935; it mostly contained what were effectively UK government 'propaganda' films, the library also hosted films made by the G.P.O Film Unit. Although many of these films were actually about the UK Post Office, being government funded, some of the films could more be classified as 'experimental' than 'educational'.

Sadly the 9.5mm prints didn't extend to things like 'Night Mail' but were generally rather boring educational titles, some of which were still kicking around (on 16mm) in the Central Film Library in the 1950s. I myself remember seeing some of these titles either at school or Sunday School and being shown at home (my Dad was a school teacher, later Headmaster).



Preface of the Central Film Library catalogue - August 1941

The text of the Central Film Library catalogue preface clearly explains that there had effectively been a government film library titled The Empire Film Library which had been absorbed into the more recentkly formed Central Film Library.

Whilst the newly formed Central Film Library only seemed to add new 16mm and maybe 35mm film prints, it had inherited the Empire Film Library contents which contained many 9.5mm copies of the films that had been released on 35mm and 16mm in the 1930s. So below are reproduced the various pages in the 1941 Central Film Library catalogue that include 9.5mm printed films.

Whilst 9.5mm prints of the films listed must have been specially produced, it doesn't appear these were offered for outright sale to the public although it is possible some prints may have been specially produced for education authorities etc. It is almost certain that there were many more 9.5mm titles that had been withdrawn because of damage prior to this 1941/1942 catalogue.
Naturally if anyone has more information please let me Grahame Newnham have details - email: - presto @ pathefilm.uk (no spaces in real address)

 


 

 

 
The last page of titles are from the G.P.O Film Unit 
a few can be seen to have been printed up in 9.5mm versions

  ©GLN '96                        INTERNATIONAL 9.5 FILM CATALOGUE - ALPHABETIC ORDER LISTING
                                  ----------------------------------------------------------- 

 9.5mm Number    9.5mm Film Title         Class.   Running Time           Director      Original Film Title            Date

  B.E.455  ANIMALS OF THE EMPIRE          Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   ANIMALS OF THE EMPIRE          ??/??/3?  GB
    C 472  ARCTIC                         Interest  5 nins B/W Silent                   ARCTIC                         ??/??/3? CAN
   NZ.254  AXES AND ELEPHANTS             Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   AXES AND ELEPHANTS             ??/??/3?  NZ
  B.E.  6  BIRDS OF THE SEA               Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   BIRDS OF THE SEA               ??/??/3?  GB
  C.E.435  BRITISH GUIANA                 Interest 20 mins B/W Silent                   BRITISH GUIANA                 ??/??/33  GB
  C.E.401  BRITISH NEW GUINEA             Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   BRITISH NEW QUINEA             ??/??/3?  GB 
    C.132  CANADA'S PACIFIC GATEWAY       Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   CANADA'S PACIFIC GATEWAY       ??/??/3? CAN
  U.K.461  CANALS                         Interest  6 mins B/W Silent                   CANALS                         ??/??/32  GB 
    C.150  CANDY FROM TREES               Interest  4 mins B/W Silent                   CANDY FROM TREES               ??/??/3? CAN
  U.K. 16  CATHEDRALS OF ENGLAND          Interest  8 mins B/W Silent Marion Grierson   CATHEDRALS OF ENGLAND          ??/??/37  GB
    C.133  CITY OF THE FOOTHILLS          Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   CITY OF THE FOOTHILLS          ??/??/3? CAN
  B.E.456  CLIMATIC REGIONS OF THE EMPIRE Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   CLIMATIC REGIONS OF THE EMPIRE ??/??/3?  GB
  B.E.  4  CLOTHES OF THE EMPIRE          Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   CLOTHES OF THE EMPIRE          ??/??/3?  GB
  B.E.  2  CONQUEST OF NATURAL BARRIERS   Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   CONQUEST OF NATURAL BARRIERS   ??/??/32  GB 
  U.K.470  COTTON AND WOOL                Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   COTTON AND WOOL                ??/??/3?  GB
  U.K. 70  CUPS AND SAUCERS               Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   CUPS AND SAUCERS               ??/??/3?  GB
  B.E.457  DAYLIGHT AND NIGHT             Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   DAYLIGHT AND NIGHT             ??/??/3?  GB
  U.K. 71  ENGLISH POTTER                 Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   ENGLISH POTTER                 ??/??/32  GB
  U.K.482  FENS (THE)                     Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   FENS (THE)                     ??/??/32  GB
   SA.302  FRUIT HARVEST IN SOUTH AFRICA  Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   FRUIT HARVEST IN SOUTH AFRICA  ??/??/3?  SA
  U.K. 53  GLASSMAKERS OF ENGLAND         Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   GLASSMAKERS OF ENGLAND         ??/??/32  GB
  B.E.  1  HIGHWAYS OF EMPIRE             Interest  5 mins B/W Silent                   HIGHWAYS OF EMPIRE             ??/??/3?  GB
      637  HOW STAMPS ARE MADE            Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   HOW STAMPS ARE MADE            ??/??/36  GB
  B.E.451  IRRIGATION                     Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   IRRIGATION                     ??/??/3?  GB 
      654  LETTERS TO LINERS              Interest 15 mins B/W Silent                   LETTERS TO LINERS              ??/??/37  GB
      618  LOCOMOTIVES                    Interest 10 mins B/W Silent Humphrey Jennings LOCOMOTIVES                    ??/??/34  GB
    C.113  LUMBERING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA  Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   LUMBERING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA  ??/??/3? CAN
      616  MARKET PLACE                   Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   MARKET PLACE                   ??/??/3?  GB
   NZ.256  MEAT WE EAT                    Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   MEAT WE EAT                    ??/??/3?  NZ
      657  MESSENGER BOY                  Interest  8 mins B/W Silent Evelyn Spice      MESSENGER BOY                  ??/??/3?  GB 
  B.E.452  MOUNTAIN STAIRWAY (A)          Interest  5 mins B/W Silent                   MOUNTAIN STAIRWAY (A)          ??/??/3?  GB
    C.136  NIAGARA THE GLORIOUS           Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   NIAGARA THE GLORIOUS           ??/??/3? CAN
    C.106  ON THE SKEENA RIVER            Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   ON THE SKEENA RIVER            ??/??/3? CAN
  U.K. 57  OUR HERRNG INDUSTRY            Interest 18 mins B/W Silent John Grierson     OUR HERRING INDUSTRY (DRIFTERS)27/11/29  GB 
  U.K.486  OUTER ISLES (THE)              Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   OUTER ISLES (THE)              ??/??/3?  GB
    C.102  PATHWAYS OF THE ROCKIES        Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   PATHWAYS OF THE ROCKIES        ??/??/3? CAN
   IN.351  PEOPLE AND PRODUCTS OF INDIA   Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   PEOPLES AND PRODUCTS OF INDIA  ??/??/31  GB
  B.E.  5  PEOPLE OF THE SEA              Interest 15 mins B/W Silent                   PEOPLE OF THE SEA              ??/??/3?  GB 
    C.471  REGIONS OF CANADA              Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   REGIONS OF CANADA              ??/??/3? CAN
      659  ROAD TRANSPORT                 Interest 10 mins B/W Silent Stuart Legg &     ROADWAYS                       ??/??/37  GB 
  U.K. 45  SEABIRDS OF THE SHETLANDS      Interest 11 mins B/W Silent                   SEABIRDS OF THE SHETLANDS      ??/??/3?  GB
  B.E.453  SEAPORTS OF THE EMPIRE         Interest  8 mins B/W Silent                   SEAPORTS OF THE EMPIRE         ??/??/3?  GB
  U.K.467  SEASONS                        Interest  5 mins B/W Silent                   SEASONS                        ??/??/3?  GB
    C.143  SEASONS OF CANADA              Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   SEASONS OF CANADA              ??/??/3? CAN
  U.K.483  SHEEP SHEARING                 Interest  5 mins B/W Silent                   SHEEP SHEARING                 ??/??/3?  GB
   NZ.252  SOLID SUNSHINE                 Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   SOLID SUNSHINE                 ??/??/3?  GB 
      621  SORTING OFFICE                 Interest 10 mins B/W Silent Edgar Anstey,Watt 6.30 COLLECTION                01/11/34  GB
  U.K.487  SPRING ON THE FARM             Interest 10 mins B/W Silent Evelyn Spice      SPRING ON THE FARM             ??/??/34  GB 
  U.K.466  STAKE NET FISHING              Interest  4 mins B/W Silent                   STAKE NET FISHING              ??/??/3?  GB
  U.K. 74  STEEL WIRE AND NAILS           Interest 12 mins B/W Silent                   STEEL WIRE AND NAILS           ??/??/3?  GB
      636  STORY OF STAMPS                Interest 10 mins B/W Silent                   STORY OF STAMPS                ??/??/3?  GB
      619  STORY OF THE WHEEL             Interest 10 mins B/W Silent Humphrey Jennings STORY OF THE WHEEL             ??/??/34  GB
  U.K. 81  ST. JAMES PARK                 Interest 10 mins B/W Silent Marion Grierson   ST. JAMES PARK                 ??/??/34  GB
    C.137  WINTER WITCHERIES OF NIAGARA   Interest  9 mins B/W Silent                   WINTER WITCHERIES OF NIAGARA   ??/??/3? CAN

                                                 (54 entries )
Notes: 
1. Whilst all the films listed above were in the Empire Film Library (later The Central Film Library), those with
    a number beginning with 6xx wre made by the G.P.O. Film Unit
2. The letter prefix of the reference number appears to identify the origin of the particular film - so we can 
    see 'IN' fir India; 'C' for Canada; 'NZ' for New Zealand; 'SA' for South Africa etc. 
3. The dates are normally the date of the first public screening.
4. All the 9.5mm prints liated are silent films, they are almost all mute prints of original sound films.
5. It's really 'Peoples And Products Of India" - did they call them 'typos' in the 1930s?

A FEW NOTES:

"MESSENGER BOY" - this is an 8 minute extract from the 1937 GPO Film Unit's 18 minute sound film "A JOB IN A MILLION", a film intended for school leavers in the lean days of the 1930s, directed by Evelyn Spice, edited by Norman McLaren with photography by S.Onions and music by Brian Easdale. This drama-documentary about a Cockney lad's hopes is a perfect example of the breakthrough engineered by the GPO Film Unit - a realistic, compassionate portrait of working-class life at a time when most directors would have played it for laughs. (Post Office Video & Film Library catalogue 1987-1988 - VHS cassettes!)

"OUR HERRING INDUSTRY" - this is an 18 minute extract from the 1929 Empire Marketing Board ( New Era) 50 minute silent film "DRIFTERS", the famous film of the Lowestoft North Sea herring fishery fleet, directed and edited by John Grierson at the beginning of his career. Photographed by Basil Emmott and produced by Stephen Tallents. It follows the passage of the boats outward bound, views in detailed successive operations with the nets and ends with the return to harbour and the quayside auction of the catch. This film probably marks the beginning of the real British 'documentary' film movement.


"SORTING OFFICE" - this is actually a shortened silent version of the 15 minute "6.30 COLLECTION" (sometimes catalogued as "SIX-THIRTY COLLECTION"), made by the G.P.O. Film Unit, filmed on 35mm in early 1934 by cameraman J.D. Davidson, directed by Edgar Anstey and Harry Watt who also probably edited, sound recording by John Cox and produced by John Grierson. It shows work at the London West End District Sorting Office. The G.P.O. Film Unit had just got sound recording equipment, experimenting with 'music' over the titles produced by a trumpet augmented by the sound of a film rewinder, office typewriters, pieces of sand paper, a pair of cymbals, a triangle and blowing into a beer bottle! Most of the other sound is authentic, recording the actual sounds of the sorting ioffice. I am impressed by the automation used in the letter sorting back in 1934, much the same still in the late 1950s when I visited a local main sorting office (Portsmouth?) with a school party.

"ROAD TRANSPORT" - this is actually a shortened silent version of the 17 minute "ROADWAYS" made by the G.P.O. Film Unit, filmed on 35mm in 1937 by cameramen Jonah Jones & H.E. (Chick) Fowle, directed by William Coldstream & Stuart Legg, Visatone-Marconi sound recording by George Diamond, music by Ernst Meyer and produced by Alberto Cavalcanti. The film begins with a brief look at a Post Office despatch department, but soon moves on to an overall review of road transport. Up to three years previously there were no driving licences. Despite the country roads looking fairly quiet, we are told there are 6000 road deaths a year! The message is limited driving hours and proper tests for transport drivers!


Watch the full length version of the John Grierson classic "The Drifters" on You Tube (The silent 9.5mm extract in the library was "Our Herring Industry")

Watch a 16mm sound copy of the G.P.O. Film Unit - "6.30 Collection" on YouTube (The silent 9.5mm copy in the Empire Film Library was "Sorting Office")

Watch an extract from the G.P.O. Film Unit - "A Job In A Million" on YouTube (The silent 9.5mm copy in the Empire Film Library was "Messenger Boy")


Want to see vintage G.P.O. Film Unit films?

The British Film Institute have produced
some excellent DVD boxed sets, with
informative booklet, and two DVDs

There are three sets I think, each has up
to about twenty vintage films, some now
classics. Try Amazon.co.uk etc.


 


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Created 21 January 2020 ........... Last updated: 05 February 2020 ............. 95flmcatempire.htm ................ ©MMXX Grahame .L. Newnham
05Feb2020 - "A Job In A Million" YouTube link & a bit more info added
.