Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Jane Marsh

Also known as: Jane Marsh Beveridge, Jane Smart, Jane Clayton Smart
Country: Canada
Born: 1915
Died: 1998

Films directed by Jane Marsh

Quotes by Jane Marsh

"[Women working under John Grierson at the National Film Board of Canada] were so grateful to be working in interesting jobs that they didn't realize they were slaves."
-- Jane Marsh (source)

"I resigned, on a matter of principle. I was producer of Canada Carries On and we were producing one two-reeler a month to go into the theatres and he [John Grierson] suddenly wanted us to do two one-reelers. I was absolutely incensed by that. You know, it is a different thing entirely, the shape of a two-reeler as compared to a one-reeler. So I resigned. That was it. That was the spring of 1944. I went down to New York and re-edited British films and made a series of films about what the British Second Army was doing in Europe: to let the Americans know that the British and Canadians were still fighting the war too."
-- Jane Marsh (source)

"[At the National Film Board of Canada during World War II] it was awfully busy, you know, and it was terribly hopped up because of the war, so, you know, there weren't enough people to go 'round. You wrote the script, went out and shot and brought it back, cut it up, cut the soundtrack, wrote the commentary..."
-- Jane Marsh (source)

"There was a war on. We were really fighting it in earnest and there wasn't time to think of anything else. It was totally engrossing. We had to use everything we had if we were going to win it."
-- Jane Marsh (source)

Quotes about Jane Marsh

"Jane Marsh, working for the NFB, made the only war propaganda that might reasonably be deemed unabashedly feminist: 1942's Women Are Warriors, about women on the front in Allied nations, and 1943's Proudly She Marches (which snarkily knocks down notions of women as little more than decorative objects for men's appreciation) and Wings on Her Shoulder, about the Woman's Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force."
-- Maryann Johanson (source)

"[Jane Marsh's] chance [within the National Film Board of Canada] came when she persuaded [John] Grierson [...] that he should make a film on a small town which would somehow epitomize the Canadian war effort. He took her up on it and when he heard the town she had in mind was Paris, Ontario, the name tickled his fancy and he sent her to Paris (pop. 7000) to do an outline treatment. In the end the film was never made, but Jane showed such fertility and inventiveness in the script that she was put onto a production unit as a writer and production assistant."
-- Graham McInnes (source)

"In 1944, Jane Marsh unfortunately 'resigned' from the [National Film Board of Canada]. What really happened, she explained, was that it became time for her to become producer of the Canada Carries On (CCO) series and Grierson did not want to have a woman. She had made a number of the CCO films, she was experienced, and 'the logical person to do it, but he (Grierson) simply couldn't bear it.' Jane Marsh said that Grierson came over to her house from the NFB to talk with her about it: ''I'll give you the earth—there's more money around to make more films like Alexis Tremblay... just don't ask to be producer of CCO.' And I said, 'I'm sorry there's nobody else to do it and I'm the logical person—you've got to.' And he said: 'Well alright but you won't be allowed to sign anything. I won't have a woman signing these things. You'll have to take Guy Glover as co-producer.' I said: 'I don't care who signs things, I want to make the films.' This went on for three or four months. Then he suddenly came in and said that instead of making one 2-reeler every month, we were to make two 1-reelers a month—which meant a 1-reeler every two weeks... We had just mastered the shape and form and what you could say on the 2-reelers. So I hit the ceiling of course, and went in and resigned.'"
-- Mary Teresa Nash (source)

"[Jane] Marsh's films have a tendency to articulate a point of view that is not quite 'editorial internationalism.' Her films are neither entirely self-effacing, nor fully impersonal, as so many of the 'prestige' series films are. Rather, her films incorporate irony and humour, a budding feminist perspective and perhaps more important, they consistently focus on Canadian subjects and locales. Ironically, in addition to being a woman, she held a perspective that [John] Grierson may have considered too Canadian for 'Canada Carries On.'"
-- Joyce Nelson (source)

"[Jane] Marsh brought an unprecedented level of creative energy and commitment to the propaganda film production team. Unfortunately, she resigned in 1944, citing deep philosophical differences with the NFB's commissioner. In reality, Marsh's resignation came about after [John] Grierson refused to name her the producer of the Canada Carries On series—a position for which she was eminently qualified. Later, Grierson would admit that Marsh had good reason to resign, adding that he had never considered offering such a prestigious position to a woman."
-- Marc St-Pierre (source)

"Although she was one of about a dozen women at the [National Film Board of Canada] during the Second World War, [Jane Marsh] Beveridge was the only woman to direct and produce war films. She served as de facto producer of the Canada Carries On series, helming six films in two years, but she quit over conflicts with John Grierson, who refused to promote her."
-- Wyndham Wise (source)

Quotes about Jane Marsh [in French]

"Fait à souligner, [Jane Marsh] travaille le plus souvent avec des femmes et notamment avec Judith Crawley, à la caméra, et Gudrun Parker à la production."
-- Jocelyne Denault (source)

"Jane Marsh déploie une énergie créatrice et un engagement sans précédent au sein de l'équipe de production de films de propagande. Malheureusement, elle démissionne en 1944, évoquant une divergence profonde de philosophie entre elle et le commissaire de l'ONF. En réalité, sa démission est le résultat du refus de [John] Grierson de lui octroyer le poste de productrice de la série Canada Carries On; poste pour lequel elle était hautement qualifiée. Plus tard, Grierson avouera que Marsh avait eu raison de démissionner, tout en ajoutant, toutefois, qu'il n'avait jamais envisagé d'offrir un poste si prestigieux à une femme."
-- Marc St-Pierre (source)

For QUOTES about a specific film by Jane Marsh, please see:   Inside Fighting Canada    Women Are Warriors    Alexis Tremblay: Habitant    Proudly She Marches    Wings on Her Shoulder    Spring on a Quebec Farm    Summer on a Quebec Farm    Winter on a Quebec Farm   

Notes about Jane Marsh


Bibliography for Jane Marsh

Section 1: Publications about Jane Marsh

Brief Sections of Books

Web Sites

Section 2: Publications about the Films of Jane Marsh

Inside Fighting Canada (1942)  (also known as: "Canada en guerre")

Brief Sections of Books

Women Are Warriors (1942)  (also known as: "Les femmes dans la mêlée")

Brief Sections of Books

Articles from Newspapers, Magazines, or News Websites

Brief Sections of Dissertations

Proudly She Marches (1943)  (also known as: "Carrières de femmes")

Articles from Newspapers, Magazines, or News Websites

Brief Sections of Dissertations

Wings on Her Shoulder (1943)  (also known as: "Nos femmes ailées")

Brief Sections of Dissertations

Archival Collections

These archival institutions have holdings related to Jane Marsh or her films:

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