Oxford Dictionary of National Biography update 28 May 2015: cinema & TV

A century of British cinema, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 28 May 2015—adds biographies of 105 men and women active between the fourteenth and the early twenty-first century.

2015-05-28 12_53_10-Oxford DNB article_ Corbett, HarryThe new edition includes a special focus on a century of British cinema and television—from the pioneering directors of the early 1900s to the actors, directors, and producers of mid and later twentieth-century films such as Bridge on the River Kwai, Hammer Horror’s Curse of Frankenstein, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, and television classics including Steptoe and Son.

Highlights from the update

Film clips from featured actors, directors and producers, now added to the ODNB

Film biographies now added to the Oxford DNB include:

  • film and television actors Oliver Reed (1938-1999) and Harry H. Corbett (1925-1982), known for Steptoe and Son.
  • US-born film producer and screen writer Carl Foreman (1914-1984), who came to Britain in the midst of the McCarthy trials, and whose films include High Noon and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
  • Lewin Fitzhamon (1869-1961), a pioneer film-maker at Walton-on-Thames in the early 1900s, who made some 400 films—notably Rescued by Rover (1905), starring a pet dog and regarded as a landmark in its cinematic narrative technique.
  • World War One film-maker, Geoffrey Malins (1886-1940) whose documentary film of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, was seen by millions of British cinema-goers later that summer.
  • director Terence Fisher (1904-1980), who made twenty-nine Hammer Horror films including the influential Curse of Frankenstein (1957).
  • film-maker Alan Clarke (1935-1990), whose television dramas include Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Scum.

Other biographies now added include:

  • Fanny Talbot (1824-1917), benefactor and friend of Ruskin, who made the first ever donation of land to the National Trust, to coincide with the Trust’s formation, in May 1895. Talbot gave land at Barmouth on the Gwynedd coast, known as Dinas Oleu or ‘Fortress of Light’.
  • the Poplar councillors (act. 1921) of East London; 30 local politicians imprisoned for refusing to levy a rate in protest at the inequitable distribution of local taxation in the capital.
  • chess master Phillip Stamma (d. 1755). Born in Aleppo, Stamma came to Britain in the late 1730s. His The Noble Game of Chess (1745) introduced the concept of the ‘end game’ to Western players of the game.

Faculty contributors to the latest update include John Davis (on the Poplar councillors (act. 1921)), George Garnett (on ‘Magna Carta through eight centuries’), and John-Paul Ghobrial (on Phillip Stamma (d. 1755)).

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life, in the UK and overseas, from the Roman occupation to the 21st century. It’s a research and publishing project of the History Faculty and OUP and is available via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

Dr Philip Carter, Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

World Newsreels Online 1929-1966 – now available in the British Library

[reposted from the British Library Sound and Vision blog.]

Sampler video for World Newsreels Online

Sampler video for World Newsreels Online

“This is a collection from Alexander Street Press of 500 hours (8,000 individual items) of newsreels (filmed news for cinema release) from Japan, France, the Netherlands and the USA, including wartime propaganda newsreels and a complete run of the important The March of Time series in its American edition (the British release version was slightly different). Most of the films have been fully transcribed, with transcriptions available in synchronisation presentation alongside the video. The contents include:

Nippon News—36 hours of Japanese newsreels from 1940-48 with English transcripts.

Four French newsreels – 75 hours of fully translated and transcribed news items.

The March of Time—Full run of this American series, 115 hours of fully transcribed content, 1935-51.

United Newsreel—More than 35 hours of 1942-46 American weekly newsreel produced by the US Office of War Information, complete with transcripts.

Universal Newsreel—More than 200 hours of content with full transcripts from Universal Studios’s bi-weekly series that ran 1929-46.

Polygoon Profliti—87 hours of Dutch newsreel 1939-45.”

Re-blogged from http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/sound-and-vision/2013/10/world-newsreels-online.html.

Related links

Europeana app for iPad: digital resources on European culture at your fingertips

Europeana app cover

Europeana app. Click to download from iTunes

Europeana fans and those who looking for digital resources relating to European culture will be delighted to know that there is a free app “Europeana Open Culture” for the iPad.

What is Europeana?

Europeana is a vast and growing digital library capturing digital cultual resources of Europe’s galleries, museums, libraries, archives and audiovisual collections.

It Includes many different types of materials:

  • images of paintings,
  • drawings,
  • maps,
  • photos and pictures of museum objects;
  • texts of books,
  • newspapers,
  • letters, diaries and archival papers;
  • sounds of music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts;
  • videos, films, newsreels and TV broadcasts.

There are also themed collections, e.g. Europeana 1914-19.

Which countries are covered?

The list of contributing libraries, museums, etc. is long but very interesting. It gives you an idea of the countries involved and scale of the operation.

Looking to use some images? Some resources are free for re-use but please check on terms & conditions first.

If you are reading this from an ipad, then you can download the app from iTunes.

Related Links:

Check out our Pinterest board Apps for Historians for more useful apps.pinterest


Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

The United States’ answer to Europeana for Europe, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. “The DPLA offers a single point of access to millions of items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Users can browse and search the DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA’s content partners and staff.

Screening La Grande Illusion on Monday 29 April

grande illusionLa Grande Illusion (directed by Jean Renoir, 1937)
Monday 29 April at 8pm
Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College

The showing is part of a War on Film series organised by the Changing Character of War Programme. Also being shown as part of this series are:

Thursday 16 May
Slaughterhouse Five directed by George Roy Hill, 1972

Monday 20 May
Kagemusha directed by Akira Kurosawa, 1980

Thursday 23 May
Under Fire directed by Roger Spottiswoode, 1983

All screenings are at 8pm in the Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College

Films at the Bodleian History Faculty Library
The Library has a number of feature and documentary films on DVD available for use in the Library (you can also borrow headphones) or for members of the University to borrow.  All films are catalogued on SOLO. Examples include:

Related Links Changing Character of War Programme Events Information | Search SOLO for more films | Internet Movie Database (for casts, reviews etc)