Jack Ellitt as director: Documentary films of the 1940s

Journal article


Birtwistle, A. 2021. Jack Ellitt as director: Documentary films of the 1940s. Journal of British Cinema and Television. 18 (3), pp. 329-359. https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2021.0577
AuthorsBirtwistle, A.
Abstract

This article examines the work of the film-maker and composer Jack Ellitt (1902–2001) who remains something of an enigmatic and marginal figure in historical accounts of British documentary cinema. Research on Ellitt has so far focused on two key aspects of his life and career: firstly, his association with the New Zealand-born film-maker and artist Len Lye, and secondly, his pioneering work as a composer of electro-acoustic music. However, little research been undertaken on the work that he produced during the three decades he spent working as a documentary director in the British film industry, beginning in the early 1940s and ending with his retirement in the 1970s. He was a member of the remarkable generation of film-makers associated with the British documentary movement, and a composer whose radical experiments with recorded sound might well have secured him a more prominent place in the history of experimental music than is currently the case.

Focusing on films made by Ellitt during the 1940s, the primary aim of this article is to offer a chronological appraisal of his early work as documentary director, while also considering what new perspectives this group of films might offer on his earlier creative collaboration with Lye, and the extent to which his radical experiments in electro-acoustic composition may have influenced the use of sound within the films he directed.

KeywordsJack Ellitt; Film ; Film directors; 1940s
Year2021
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Journal citation18 (3), pp. 329-359
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
ISSN1743-4521
1755-1714
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2021.0577
Official URLhttps://euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/jbctv.2021.0577
Publication dates
OnlineJul 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Feb 2021
Deposited25 Mar 2021
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
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