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The Private Life of the Gannets  (1934)

An isolated 20 acres of rock

A truly landmark film, The Private Life of the Gannets provides an absorbing and atmospheric account of a colony of these graceful sea birds (Morus bassanus), as they bring up their young on a small island off the Welsh coast, known locally as Grassholm.

Combining close-up, slow motion and aerial shots, groundbreaking footage reveals the incredible private lives of these birds as they squabble over territory, perform spectacular dives and regurgitate fish for their young.

Shot with the support of the Royal Navy, The Private Life of the Gannets enlisted the talents of some of the top figures in the British scientific and cinematic world. Written by renowned biologist Julian Huxley, the production is classed by many as the world's first natural history documentary, its thorough and academic approach a stark contrast to the expedition format of its predecessors.

A comprehensive insight into a fascinating creature, The Private Life of the Gannets was the first wildlife film to receive an Academy Award, winning an Oscar for Best Short Subject in 1937.

Copyright holder

Copyright Holder: British Film Institute (BFI)
Email: Jan.Faull@bfi.org.uk
Website: http://www.bfi.org.uk

Film credits

Photography: Osmond Borradaile
Editor: Philip Charlot
Producer: Julian Huxley
Narrator: Julian Huxley
Assistant Producer: Ronald Lockley
Production Organisation: London Film Productions Limited
Clips
An isolated 20 acres of rock
An isolated 20 acres of rock
Expressive behaviours of the gannets
Expressive behaviours of the gannets