A film by Pat Jackson
BFI Blu-ray/DVD (Dual Format Edition), iTunes and Amazon Prime release on 19 June 2023
Regarded as one of the best British documentaries of the Second World War, Western Approaches (1944) pays tribute to the bravery of the Merchant Navy and the perils they faced during the Atlantic Convoys. Anticipating post-war neorealism, Pat Jackson (White Corridors, What a Carve Up!) cast serving merchant seaman as the survivors of a torpedoed ship being shadowed by a U-Boat, bringing a powerful authenticity to this cat-and-mouse thriller played out through stunning colour imagery. Released in a Dual Format Edition on 19 June, special features include an archival audio commentary, complementary archival films and an illustrated booklet.
A crowning achievement of the British documentary movement that flourished in the 1930s and 1940s, this landmark film, shot in Technicolor by acclaimed cinematographer Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, The African Queen), is presented here in a new 2K restoration by Imperial War Museums.
• Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
• Archive audio commentary featuring the IWM’s Toby Haggith and director Pat Jackson (2004)
• Ferry Pilot (1941, 31 mins): film about the Air Transport Auxiliary which provided personnel (including female pilots) to fly newly completed aircraft from the factories to the airfields
• Builders (1942, 8 mins): short film highlighting the importance of builders to the war effort
• People at War – A Seaman’s Story (1942, 14 mins): a Newfoundlander recounts being torpedoed four times, typifying the courage and service of the Merchant Navy
• This is Colour (1942, 18 mins): an ICI-sponsored Technicolor marvel that explores colour theory
• Steel (1945, 34 mins): a Technicolor documentary exploring the manufacture of steel and the workings of a foundry
• Colour on the Sea (2023, 8 mins) Craig McCall’s making-of film, with Pat Jackson and Jack Cardiff, filmed aboard HMS Belfast in 1999
• Western Approaches linocut production (2023, 1 min): Illustrator and printmaker Mat Pringle shares his process for creating the new sleeve art
• ***First pressing only*** illustrated booklet with essays by Dr. Toby Haggith, Martin Stollery, Lillian Crawford and David Walsh; a biography of Pat Jackson by Tony Dykes; notes on the archive shorts by Steven Foxon, Katy McGahan and Patrick Russell and credits
RRP: £19.99 / Cat. no. BFIB1488 / PG
UK / 1944 / colour / 83 minutes / English language with optional subtitles for the Deaf and partial hearing, plus optional audio description / original aspect ratio 1.37:1 BD50: 1080p, 24fps, PCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/16-bit) DVD9: PAL, 25fps, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio (48khz/16-bit)
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