Light and Mankind


Light and Mankind (1954)

The film Light and Mankind shows the development of mankind and lighting.

Light and Mankind starts in the prehistoric era and ends in modern times in the year 1954. Thanks to Philips lightbulbs there is light.


Amongst connoisseurs a light bulb went off with the film by art director Jan Coolen. Didn’t I already see this before? Yes and No. Geesink produced practically the same concept in the same period for a competing party: General Electric. This was called: The Story of Light. Jan Coolen was also a art director for this film, which explains the similarity. Read the anecdote in the biography, which circulated about these films. Due to the long time of production (about 1,5 year), it is not easy to find out which film was first. Presumably the film for General Electric was the original idea. The scenarist is mentioned for this film. In the credits of Light and Mankind no scenarist was mentioned.

Déjà Vu

Geesink acquired commands for movies via Sies Numann from Philips for years. Light and Mankind became, in spite of the similarities with the competing film, the original film, including some typical Geesink -Numann ingredients. A lot of bombast and pretences. The puppet animation is limited, but with plenty of images with complex camera work and a large orchestral setting. Do you get a sense of a déjà vu when listening to this soundtrack? No surprise: You also hear composer, conductor and orchestra in `Kermesse Fantastique" (1951), however with a different composition.

Old Fame

The collaboration between Jan Coolen and Frans Hendrix is ​​no coincidence here.
Both men had more than earned their spurs in 1949 by the stop motion film “The Story of Time – By Rolex”, for the English studio Signal Film.
You see a poetic similarity between these three films, but at the same time they clearly each have their own identity.

Light and Mankind (1954)Light and Mankind (1954)
Light and Mankind (1954)Light and Mankind (1954)


Title:Light And Mankind
Commissioned by:Philips
9 minutes
Year of production:1954
Music:Georges Auric
Performed by: 
The Hague residence Orchestra cond. Willem van Otterloo
Director:Jan Coolen
Not mentioned, presumably Jószef Misik and Frans Hendrix
Frans Hendrix
Props:Theo Doreleyers
Puppets:Harry Tolsma
Format:35 mm, Technicolor