Flying to Israel for 'The Red Ground'

Thorold Dickinson

British film director Thorold Dickinson boards an Israel Airlines plane in July 1953 to make a short propaganda film for the Israeli Army, ‘The Red Ground’. The film told the unhappy plight of young conscripts and was described by the director as "an amusing film" because it was "100% propaganda".

Dickinson stayed on in Israel on to make an English language film, ‘Hill 24 Doesn’t  Answer’, which told the story of the foundation of Israel. It turned out to be his final movie.

The films came about after Dickinson was approached by a woman from Israel after a talk he gave on military training films in his capacity as chairman of the British Film Academy.

She said the Israel Defence Forces had a military training film planned, but she was determined to "get the expert out" - Dickinson.

His response? "I had nothing to do so I said yes."

The project proved some undertaking, with an inexperienced cast and crew and, at one stage, bullets whistling past after a trigger-happy group in an Israeli command car saw the director "fighting our little skirmish on the stony hilltop".

Taken from ‘Thorold Dickinson: A World of Film’ by Professor Philip Horne and Professor Peter Swaab, both of UCL English (Manchester University Press).

UCL alumni, staff members and current students can claim a 30% discount on the book until 30 November 2008.

Call 01751 202301 and quote OTH120 to receive your copy for £38.50 (RRP £55.00).

The Barbican's short season of Dickinson's work runs from 5 to 6 October.

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Further details
Philip Horne
Peter Swaab
Manchester University Press
Thorold Dickinson season at the Barbican