GPO Film Unit

In 1933, when Stephen Tallents moved from the defunct Empire Marketing Board to the General Post Office, he brought a group of filmmakers with him. The filmmakers made up the GPO Film Unit. The department was set up to produce sponsored documentary films about the GPO and its everyday activities.

The GPO film unit’s most famous work is the documentary, Night Mail which was released in 1936. The team also delivered works such as The Saving of Bill Blewitt (1937) – seen as the first ‘story’ documentary – Men of the Lightship (1940) and London Can Take It! (1940), produced to secure American popular opinion for Britain’s war effort.

In 1940, the GPO Film Unit became the Crown Film Unit, under the control of the Ministry of Information.

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