Directing 'Magna Carta' (1959)
"This is the important thing about educational films, I believe. Films made for the movie houses of the world --- although many are made with great artistry and devotion -- are essentially made to make money. Films made for television are made mostly to fill up the time between commercials. The makers of educational films are not entirely ignorant of the values of money, but essentially they have other ideas in view... But I have an idea --- a faith, I suppose it really is -- that some of my films -- or a single film, or even a single sequence in a film or a shot in a film -- will light up a young mind somewhere: --- light it up so that nothing --- unsympathetic teachers, lack of a decent place to live, or lack of love --- can ever plunge it into darkness."
- John Barnes, 1966
Note: John Barnes compiled this filmography in 1997. I have made a few changes for clarification, but elaborations are from Barnes' pen. Unless otherwise noted, the films on this list were all distributed by Encyclopaedia Britannica films. - Geoff Alexander
W = wrote, CO-W = co-wrote, D = directed, CO-D = co-directed, C = cameraman, E = edited, P = produced, CO-P = co-produced
EB = Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, EBEC or Britannica
TO LIVE TOGETHER -- a documentary of an interracial camp; sponsored and distributed by by Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith; (Associated Films, 1950. D/C/E, CO-W and CO-P with H.H. Schuyler.
IMPACT -- a railroad documentary; with Gordon Weisenborn, who directed
and produced. (1951 CO-C/CO-E) Barnes left few notes on this film, but it is
believed to have been produced and distributed by Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Railway Company, with the film described as follows: Shows the problem of damage
to freight shipments, as a Santa Fe freight conductor faces the facts of loss
and damage. Emphasizes the conductor's realization that it's everybody's job on
the railroad to help move the freight on time and in good condition.
PEOPLE ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI -- with Gordon Weisenborn. (EB 1951. W/C/CO-P)
SAFETY ON THE PLAYGROUND, with Gordon Weisenborn in Hollywood; EB 1952. W/CO-P/C/E)
THE BALTIMORE PLAN -- a documentary on urban renewal. (EB 1952. D/E/P; CO-W with Selma Weisenborn; cameraman, Louis Clyde Stoumen)
THE LIVING CITY (1952 EB and 20th Century Fund W/D/E/P. Cameramen: Andy Costikian, Haskell Wexler, Lou Stoumen; Academy Award Nomination best documentary of 1953). Discusses urban renewal in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and South Philadelphia.
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (EB 1953 D/E/P; Written by Gilbert Aberg; cameraman Lou Stoumen)
THE CIVIL WAR (EB 1953 D/E/P; CO-W with Gilbert Aberg; cameramen Louis Stoumen and Gordon Weisenborn)
SIX STORY FILMS to accompany "Dick and Jane" readers: "Look, Jane, see Spot run! Run, Spot, run!" With Gordon Weisenborn in Hollywood; "Look, John, see Gordon run!" "Look, Gordon, see John run! Run, John, run!" (EB 1953 W/CO-P/E)
LOOK TO THE LAND (1953 EB and 20th Century Fund, W/D/E/P. Cameramen, Haskell Wexler, Lou Stoumen, Gordon Weisenborn, John Barnes)
CLOTHING (EB 1954)
SHELTER (EB 1954)
AN OCEAN VOYAGE (EB 1954, W/D/E/P, cameraman Michael Livesey) made aboard the liner "Olympia"
THE PILGRIMS (EB 1954, D/P; written by Gilbert Aberg; art director, George Haslam, cameraman Michael Livesey, editor Charles Hasse; Captain Miles Standish played by Simon Lack) filmed in England
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH: FOUNDER OF VIRGINIA (EB 1955, W/D/P; credits as above; Smith played by Edwin Richfield. Filmed in England
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (EB 1955, D/E/P, CO-W with Gilbert Aberg; cameramen Michael Livesey, John Barnes. Shakespeare played by Vaughn Kimber, Shakespeare as a youth, Richard Coe, Richard Burbage by Ray Westwell). Filmed in England.
THE RENAISSANCE: ITS BEGINNING IN ITALY (EB 1956, D/E/P, CO-W with Anthony Kerrigan; cameraman, Michael Livesey, Gianni Boni, John Barnes) Filmed in Italy.
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE: THE RISE OF ENGLISH SEA POWER (EB 1957 W/D/P; art director, George Haslam, cameraman Michael Livesey, editor Charles Hasse. Drake played by Michael Goodliff). Filmed in England.
LEONARDO DA VINCI: Giant of the Renaissance (EB 1957, W/D/E/P, cameramen, Michael Livesey, John Barnes. Voice of da Vinci: Michael Goodliff) Filmed in Italy, France and England.
THE OREGON TRAIL (EB,1957, W/D/P; Editor Carmen di Belieff)filmed in US, edited and post-production in England.
ROGER WILLIAMS: FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND; (EB 1957 ,W/D/P, art director George Haslam, cameraman, Michael Livesey, editor Charles Hasse; Roger Williams played by Donald Moffat)
A CHARLES DICKENS CHRISTMAS (MR. PICKWICK'S CHRISTMAS) (EB 1957, W/D/P; camera, Michael Livesey; Art Director, Wilford Arnold; editor Carmen di Belieff; Mr. Pickwick played by Roddy Hughes)
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND (EB 1957, W/P)
ROY: SHEEPDOG OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS, (EB,1958, W/P/CO-E)
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LEAVE OF ABSENCE (five months 1958) to co-write a script for a feature film with the poet and novelist Robert Graves; worked on the script with Graves in Deya, Majorca (his home for many years and the setting for the film); pre-production in London. Script optioned but not produced.
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CHAUCER'S ENGLAND, WITH A SPECIAL PRESENTATION OF "THE PARDONER'S TALE" (EB 1958 W/D/E/P; filmed in England; art direction, Wilford Arnold, cameraman, Alfred Hicks; The Thief played by Michael Goodliff; Death played by Ernest Thesinger)
MAGNA CARTA, PART I: RISE OF THE ENGLISH MONARCHY (EB 1959, D/E/P; CO-W with James Sage)f Flmed in England.
MAGNA CARTA, PART II: REVOLT OF THE NOBLES (EB 1959, Credits as above)
'THE HUMANITIES' SERIES
THE AGE OF SOPHOCLES, I ('Oedipus Rex' series) 1959 EB & Massachusetts Council for the Humanities (CO-P with Michael Roemer of Massachusetts Council, CO-D with Douglas Campbell, CO-E with Robert Johnson; cameraman Michael Livesey; art direction C. Walter Hodges; written by Bernard Knox; filmed in Canada with members of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival)
THE CHARACTER OF OEDIPUS, II (1959 Credits as above)
OEDIPUS REX, III: MAN AND GOD (1959 Credits as above)
THE RECOVERY OF OEDIPUS, IV (1959 Credits as above)
THE HUMANITIES: WHAT THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY DO 1959 EB (CO-P with The Massachusetts Council for the Humanities, CO-D with Douglas Campbell; edited by Robert Johnson, cameraman Michael Livesey; written by Clifton Fadiman)
THE THEATER: ONE OF THE HUMANITIES (1959 Credits as above)
OUR TOWN AND OUR UNIVERSE (1959 Credits as above)
OUR TOWN AND OURSELVES (1959 Credits as above)
HAMLET I: The Age of Elizabeth (1959 CO-P with The Massachusetts Council for The Humanities, CO-D with Douglas Campbell, CO-E with Robert Johnson; art direction, C. Walter Hodges and Brian Jackson; cameraman Michael Livesey; written by Maynard Mack. Peter Donat as Hamlet, with members of The Stratford (Canada) Shakespeare Festival.
HAMLET II: What Happens in Hamlet? (1959 Credits as above.)
HAMLET III: The Poisoned Kingdom (1959 Credits as above.)
HAMLET IV: The Readiness is All (1959 Credits as above.)
SOCIAL INSECTS: THE HONEY BEE (EB 1960 D/P/E)
THE NOVEL: WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT'S ABOUT, WHAT IT DOES(EB 1962, CO-W/D/P, commentary written and presented by Clifton Fadiman; Cameraman, Michael Livesey; made in England with actors John Stride, Judi Dench, Mark Dignam, Michael Gwynn, others.
EARLY VICTORIAN ENGLAND AND CHARLES DICKENS (EB 1962 CO-W/P, CO-D with Douglas Campbell; commentary written and presented by Clifton Fadiman; art direction C. Walter Hodges. Actor credits as above)
GREAT EXPECTATIONS I (EB 1962, CO-W/P; CO-D with Douglas Campbell; commentary written and presented by Clifton Fadiman; art direction, C. Walter Hodges; edited by Robert Johnson; John Stride as Pip, Judi Dench as Estella, Rosalie Crutchley as Miss Havisham, Mark Dignam as Magwich, Michael Gwynn as Joe Gargery)
GREAT EXPECTATIONS II (EB 1962, Credits as above)
GREEK LYRIC POETRY (EB 1962 E/P/CO-D with Douglas Campbell; art direction, C. Walter Hodges; written by David Grene; featuring a choral dramatization with actors John Neville, Chorus leader, Joe Rae, Mark Dignam, Douglas Campbell, and Edwin Richfield. (Lesson 4, Classical Greece series)
ATHENS: THE GOLDEN AGE (EB 1963 D/P, written by Charles Kahn, art director, C. Walter Hodges; edited by Robert Johnson, cameraman Michael Livesey; Lesson 1, Classical Greece series)
ARISTOTLE'S ETHICS: THE THEORY OF HAPPINESS (EB 1963 D/P, written by Mortimer Adler; art director, C. Walter Hodges; edited by Robert Johnson, cameraman Michael Livesey; Lesson 3, Classical Greece series)
PLATO'S APOLOGY: THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF SOCRATES (EB 1962 D/P; credits as above. Tony Van Bridge as Socrates; Lesson 2, Classical Greece series)
ART: WHAT IS IT? WHY IS IT? (EB 1963 D/P/CO-E; written by John Canaday; cameramen, Archer Goodwin, Bert Van Bork; art director, C. Walter Hodges; edited by Robert Johnson.
ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES (EB 1963; D/P, written by John Canaday; cameramen Archer Goodwin, John Barnes; edited by Robert Johnson and John Barnes). A companion to Barnes' Chartres Cathedral film, this history of French cathedrals includes Conques, Autun, Chartres, Amiens, and Rheims. Narrated by Donald Moffat
CHARTRES CATHEDRAL (EB 1963; D/P/E; written by John Canaday, cameraman Archer Goodwin)
MACBETH I: THE POLITICS OF POWER (EB 1964, W/D/P, CO-D with Douglas Campbell; art direction, Benjamin Creme, cameraman Joseph Ambor, edited by Charles Hasse; filmed in England, with William Squire as Macbeth, Gudrun Ure as Lady Macbeth, Michael Gwynn as Duncan, Duncan Lamont as Macduff, George Hagen as Banquo)
MACBETH II: THE THEMES OF MACBETH (EB 1964; credits as above)
MACBETH III: THE SECRET'ST MAN (EB 1964; credits as above)
THE SPIRIT OF ROME (EB 1965 D/P/E/CO-C with Josef Amber; written by Charles Bell, filmed in England and Italy; with George Hagen as Julius Caesar; Classical Civilization series).
EMPEROR AND SLAVE: THE PHILOSOPHY OF ROMAN STOICISM (EB 1965, D/P; written by Mortimer Adler; George Hagen as the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Simon Lack as the slave Epectitus; cameraman Joseph Ambor, edited by Charles Hasse; Classical Civilization series).
MICHELANGELO (EB 1965 W/D/P/CO-C with Joseph Ambor, edited by Charles Hasse, made in Italy; with Michael Gwynn as Michelangelo)
THE ODYSSEY I: THE STRUCTURE OF THE EPIC (EB 1965, D/P/E, written by Gilbert Highet; art director, Brian Jackson, assisted by Geogio Oddi; cameraman, Aldo Tonti; location camera, John Barnes; made in Italy with Simon Lack as Odysseus, Ann Morrish as Penelope, Dyson Lovell as Telemacus, Michael Gwynn as Zeus). Filmed at Cinecittą in Rome.
THE ODYSSEY II: THE RETURN OF ODYSSEUS (EB 1965. Credits as above)
THE ODYSSEY III: THE CENTRAL THEMES (EB 1965. Credits as above)
ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE (Fordell Films and Saint John's College 1964. W/D/P, edited by Robert Johnson, cameraman Michael Livesey)
THE GREAT DEBATES -- LINCOLN VS. DOUGLAS; (EB 1965 P/CO-W with Senator Paul Douglas; directed and edited by Robert K. Sharpe; Hal Holbrook as Lincoln.
MEANING IN MODERN PAINTING? I (EB 1966, P/CO-W with Roy MacMullin; directed and edited by Louis Clyde Stoumen)
MEANING IN MODERN PAINTING? II (EB 1966; credits as above)
'OUR LIVING BILL OF RIGHTS' SERIES -- 1966/7
A SERIES OF SIX FILMS documenting the great Warren Court decisions. (Barnes served as executive producer for all six films in the series, and was directly involved in three of them):
JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW: THE GIDEON CASE (1966, the right to an attorney; directed, wrote, produced)
FREEDOM TO SPEAK: PEOPLE OF NEW YORK VS. IRVING FEINER (1967, produced by Barnes, co-written w/Linda Gottlieb, directed by Robert Q. Lovett, camera by Isidore Mankofsky)
EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW: THE LOST GENERATION OF PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY (1966, co-written w/Linda Gottlieb) This edu-documentary discusses the closing of all public schools from 1959-1964 by Prince Edward County, VA, in reaction to integration laws. Actor Paul Sparer is added to play the part of the lawyer for the County.
THE RIGHT TO PROTECTION -- ( illegal search and seizure). Barnes remembers making this film in the 1965-1968 timeframe, but it can't be found in a search through a contemporary EB catalogue. The Academic Film Archive of North America will continue to look for a print of this film, which could have been distributed under a different title.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION (Directed by Dennis Azzarella, camera by
'THE WORLD OF WORK' SERIES
INTERN: A LONG YEAR (EB 1967, P; cameraman Michael Livesey, editor Robert Johnson. Featuring Karin Mack, M.D. as the Intern)
COUNTRY VET, (EB, 1967; credits as above)
RESCUE SQUAD, (EB, 1967; credits as above)
SPACE EXPLORATION: A TEAM EFFORT (EB, 1967; credits as above)
TUGBOAT SKIPPER (EB, 1967; credits as above; cinematography by Isidore Mankofsky)
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: BEGINNINGS IN THE UNITED STATES (EB 1968, Producer) written by Linda Gottlieb, dir. Dennis Azzarella/Lee Kohns, featuring Donald Moffat as Francis Lowell.
THE RISE OF LABOR (EB 1968 Producer) written by Linda Gottlieb
THE RISE OF BIG BUSINESS (EB 1969; P)
THE FARMER IN A CHANGING AMERICA (EB 1969; P)
TV NEWS: BEHIND THE SCENES (EB 1973; P; directed and shot by Mike Livesey, co-directed by Randolph Hobler, editor Robert Johnson)
"THE HUMANITIES" SERIES (continued)
A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART I: THE DESTRUCTION OF ILLUSION (EB 1967, CO-W with Norris Houghton; editor Robert Johnson; camera, Joseph Brun, ASC. With Frances Sternhagen as Nora, Paul Sparer as Torvald.)
A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART II: IBSEN'S THEMES (EB 1967, credits as above).
MAGIC PRISON: THE POETRY OF EMILY DICKINSON (EB, 1968 D/P/CO-W with Archibald MacLeish; music composed and conducted by Ezra Laderman with the English Chamber Orchestra; camera, Isidore Mankofsky; editor Paul Stein; with Frances Sternhagen as Emily Dickinson and Michael Higgins as Colonel Higginson; narrated by James Mason)
THE CHERRY ORCHARD I: CHEKHOV -- INNOVATOR OF MODERN DRAMA; (EB 1968 D/P; CO-W with Norris Houghton; editor Robert Johnson; cameraman, Joseph Brun, ASC. Art Direction: Robert Gundliff. With Maureen Stapleton as Madame Ranevskya, John Colicos as Lopakhin, Frances Sternhagen as Varya, Donald Moffat as Gayef, Lou Gilbert as Firs.)
THE CHERRY ORCHARD II: COMEDY OR TRAGEDY (EB 1968, credits as above)
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[LEAVE OF ABSENCE from Britannica during part of 1968 and '69 to write the screenplay for a feature film based on the best-selling 'Rape of the Fair Country' by Welsh novelist Alexander Cordell. Screenplay first Optioned by Jules Bricken Productions; Douglas Campbell and I were to co-direct; we spent some time in Wales in pre-production. Later optioned by The Grade Organization for two years. Has been optioned nearly every year since then (in all 28 years!) by one company or other. BBC-TV optioned it and commissioned me to expand the screenplay into six fifty-minute scripts. Currently (1997) optioned by the Sherman Theatre of Cardiff, Wales, to be done as a musical. Our original budget for the film was about $4 million (1970); it would cost about $110 million now! probably more.]
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THE MEDIEVAL MIND, (EB, l969; D/P, CO-WROTE with Linda Gottlieb. Camera Mauro Barboni, John Barnes. Edited by Robert Johnson and John Barnes)
THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE (EB, 1970; P/D, CO-WROTE with Linda Gottlieb; camera, Mauro Barboni, John Barnes; edited by Paul Stein)
SHAW VS. SHAKESPEARE I: THE CHARACTER OF CAESAR (EB, 1970; W/D/P; Art direction George Drew, camera, Beda Batka, edited by Robert Johnson. With Donald Moffat as Shaw, Richard Kiley as Caesar, Frances Sternhagen as Calpurnia, Ernest Graves as Brutus, Donald Madden as Mark Anthony)
SHAW VS. SHAKESPEARE II: SHAKESPEARE'S THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR (EB, 1970; credits as above).
SHAW VS. SHAKESPEARE III: SHAW'S CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA (EB 1970; credits as above; Donald Moffat as Shaw, Richard Kiley as Caesar, Suzanne Grossman as Cleopatra, Frances Sternhagen as Ftatateeta, James Valentine as Britannus, Sydney Walker as Pothinus)
THE GREEK MYTHS, PART I: MYTH AS FICTION, HISTORY, AND RITUAL (EB 1971, D/P/E; CO-C with Mauro Barboni; CO-W with Gilbert Highet)
THE GREEK MYTHS, PART II: MYTH AS SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND DRAMA (EB 1971, credits as above)
THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE I: SAGA AND STORY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT (EB 1973; W/D/P/E, filmed in Israel, Egypt, Italy, France, England and the US. Cameraman, Isidore Mankofsky, John Barnes, Alfred Hicks) With Michael Higgins as Elder One, Barnard Hughes as Elder Two; Earle Hyman as the prophet Jerimiah.
THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE II: HISTORY, POETRY, AND DRAMA IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. (EB 1973; credits as above) With William Squire as Job, John Rae as First Comforter, Gordon Jackson as Second Comforter, Patrick Mower as Third Comforter.
JOHN KEATS, POET (EB 1973; D/P/E, written by Archibald MacLeish; filmed in England; John Stride as Keats). This is a truncated, 31 minute version of JOHN KEATS, HIS LIFE AND DEATH.
JOHN KEATS, HIS LIFE AND DEATH (EB 1973; D/P/E and co-written with Archibald MacLeish; cameraman Alfred Hicks, art director, Bernard Sarron; John Stride as Keats, Janina Faye as Fanny Brawne, Richard Everett as Tom Keats, Petra Davis as Keats' mother, Ezra Barnes, Keats as a child, Frank Barrie as Joseph Severn, Mark Dignam as The Surgeon).
ADVENTURE IN VENICE (EB 1974 W/D/E/P)
A FARM FAMILY IN ITALY (EB 1974, W/D/E/P)
"THE ART OF SILENCE" SERIES, Starring Marcel Marceau (Fourteen films), 1975, JOHN BARNES PRODUCTIONS & EB; (D/P/E, cameraman, Adam Gifford), consisting of the following films:
PANTOMIME: THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART
VOLTAIRE PRESENTS "CANDIDE" (JOHN BARNES PRODUCTIONS & EB 1976; CO-W with Linda Gottlieb; D/E/P) David Yelland as Candide, Mark Dignam as Voltaire, William Squire as Pangloss, Ann Casson as The Old Lady, Phillip Locke as the Inquisitor)
THE SPIRIT OF ROMANTICISM (JOHN BARNES PRODUCTIONS & EB 1976; D/P/E/CO-W with Joan Micklin Silver. Filmed in England and France. Cameraman, Alfred Hicks, location camera in France, John Barnes; art director/designer, Carlotta Barrow. Tim Piggot- Smith as Byron)
THE PORTABLE PHONOGRAPH (JOHN BARNES PRODUCTIONS & EB 1977; adapted by Barnes from the short story by Walter van Tilberg Clark; D/E/P; Art Director/designer, Carlotta Barrow. Michael Gwynn as The Music Lover; William Squire as The Actor; Philip Locke as The Book Lover; David Buck as The Musician)
STORY INTO FILM: CLARK'S THE PORTABLE PHONOGRAPH (A DISCUSSION BY JOHN BARNES, JOHN BARNES PRODUCTIONS & EB 1977; W/D/E/P)