The Gladstone Jones partnership, professional & more, is thirty
eight years old. or young.
Jones/ Francis Gladstone worked as a producer and director for
the science series at the BBC and its American partner, HORIZON
He was a student of the late Robert Reid who believed that
science journalism and film making should have journalistic
teeth, eloquence and a human dimension. Robert Reid founded the
HORIZON series on the BBC from which Michael Ambrosino evolved
its American counterpart NOVA for the Public Television Network.
These strands on
television continue after four decades although more as shop
windows for exiting science than critiques of the consequences
of science. The Planet Technopolitana idea is an attempt to
return to roots, to make journalism and writing that try to look
at the paradoxes of progress.
My films for
Horizon included: Something For Our Children (made with
Michael Andrews) -- an early attempt to look at environmental
issues in the United Kingdom, 1968, One Liverpool or Two
about the false use of science in urban planning taking that
city as an example, What Kind of Doctor (made with the
successful director of movies, Brian Gibson), about the neglect
of general practice and preventative and community medicine in a
London medical school.
I also made, as junior partner, films on the gritty subject of
medical priorities in a north of England city and the
exploitation and also preservation of the British coast line and
wetlands. Jo Elwyn Jones worked on Horizon and closely with
Jacob Bronowski on The Ascent of Man series working as
his researcher and producer of the successful book of the
series. She was later a film maker in her own right, editor of
the NOVA series for a time and a member of the History of
Science Department at Harvard.
For NOVA in the USA I produced and directed films that saw
science with either a human eye or an eye to its consequences.
Strange Sleep (1973) is a dramatized account of the
successful search to find pain preventers as a precursor to
surgery, known now of course as 'anesthesia'. It is a period
film made with close attention to historical detail and look and
using amateur actors, many of them doctors. Addiction as a
consequence of experimentation with ether, nitrous oxide and
cocaine are strong themes.
War From the Air (1975) deals with the claims and
counter-claims of aerial bombing as the winning weapon of war
from early theorists, through the Guernica period, World War II
and into Vietnam. Thanks to work by my partners, Elsa Rassbach
and the late Patrick Griffin, it contains unusual footage, both
of bombing and of propaganda against bombing -- ends with
Vietcong salvaging a shot down American fighter bomber and
making saucepans from its aluminum. The technologies of film
(for morale raising propaganda) and airplanes to bomb the world
to hell developed alongside each other. It was narrated by the
late Robert Kiley.
The Woman Rebel (1977) is a dramatized account of the
part played by the American feminist, Margaret Sanger, in the
propagandizing the need of birth control and, later, biochemical
development of the pill of which she was a spearhead if not a
scientist. It is fundamentally about her view of liberation and
the title role is played by Piper Laurie. An important
subsidiary role is played by Paul Guilfoyle.
What Price Coal? (1976) was made in reaction to President
Carter's idea that coal could provide energy independence from
the Middle East. It examines health and safety issues, or their
neglect and the environmental damage done by open cast mining,
also some issues of failure to compensate Native American
landowners by coat minding developers. As a matter of
self-consciousness, I want to point out that it failed to
deal with the carbon pollution issues. It is polemical in its
tone and caused significant controversy with the funders Exxon
Mobil. Nearly banned, it managed to survive.
Across the Silence Barrier is about the controversy in
the USA about whether deaf children should be allowed to use
sign language. Time has moved on. At the time it dealt with
important issues of self-regard for deaf people and advertized
the eloquence and lyricism of sign language. The American
Theater of the Deaf participated in it and this led to Jo Elwyn
Jones and I producing a series of short films with them about
signed theater, Festival of Hands.
Hitler's Secret Weapon (made with my colleague Patrick
Griffin) is about technology and war. It rests on the huge
archive of German rocket films which Patrick discovered --
rocketry being Germany's way to subvert the limitations placed
on it by the 1919 Versailles Treaty. It describes Hitler's giant
project to win the war with these rockets, its relatively
complete failure until... until both the rockets and the rocket
scientists were captured by the USA and the rockets found a new
role in the post-1945 era when they were the foundation for the
intercontinental ballistic missile program. I made other films
with Patrick on Henry Ford, the environmentalist John Muir and
the struggle to steal water from California's Owens Valley to
hydrate Los Angeles.
This is some of the science journalism and history experience I
had. Some of these films may be available via U tube or on the
BBC. In certain cases I can lend DVDs.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 44+ (0)79-4133-9122
www.gladstonejones is the website of Technopolitana & Jo Elwyn