Film: 1282

Industry + Work | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

A narrated documentary about the Post Office in America U.S.A. Rural service in Andover, New Jersey. Small town / rural life. Postman delivers letters in a big American car. Local store

A steam train pulls into a rural station, as it nears the camera, you get a sense of just how massive it is, dwarfing the small buildings nearby. An American narrator starts speaking - "When 34 West bound whistles through this station it’s a signal for the local post office to go to work…" A closer view of the side of the train carriages as it pulls up. A man takes sacks of post from an open door in the train as another man passes them down to him."…this station is Andover…" A sign on the wood panelled wall says Andover. "…in the state of New Jersy…" A box is lifted down and onto a cart A view of the wheels of the locomotive as it trundles over the tracks. "…the mail comes in and the nation with the world…" The middleaged man in the post office is seen pulling a cart load of mail beside the tracks. The train leaving. The post master continues down a hill into town, slightly struggling to maintain control as it speeds up."…Each day Ed Hill, post master at Andover, trundles a whole mass of hope and business, of love and law, of friendly greetings and news, and sometimes disapointment, down the street to the post office…" He pushes the cart through the streets onto a main commercial road past parked cars and shops. "…Ed is a respected member of the federal government, a post master by appointment…" He arrives at a tiny, single storey, wood panelled building and pushes his cart round to its back door where someone helps him unload the sacks into the office. "…he brings the mail for the rural routes along with the rest of the mail down from the train, the rural postal system provides country people, at no additional cost, with the same efficient service enjoyed in the cities…" Ed and his female assistant sort the mail into pigeon holes inside the office as the narration continues. He is seen leaving again with an organised sack full of post. He walks outside and puts the bag into the back of a car. He returns to the office to pick up a few parcles from a bench beside the pigeon holes and then also deposits them into his car. "…some rural carriers use their own cars, the government pays their milage. We'd like to take you with this carrier…" Ed gets into his car and drives out onto the road and off into the distance. A rural road bordered by fields, Ed's drives into shot, the camera follows him as as he turns towards his destination - a farm with cylo tanks. The narrator describes the mail's recipient. A post box mounted on a pole next to a fence, the car parks up next to it. Ed leans out of his window and takes existing mail out of the box to be sent and then puts the new mail into the box. Shot from the other side of the car as Ed drives off again.
A shining metallic mail box with the initials J.H.RAM writen on the side stands in the foreground while in the distance Ed's car comes up the road and into view, the narrator describes this mail recipient. Ed pulls up and we see his hand opening the latch on the mail box. We see mail inside with money left for postage payment. View from inside the car as Ed takes the letter and puts a stamp on it. He then drives off.
At his next destination, a small boy wearing shorts and a t-shirt is waiting for the postman beside his mail box. The narrator describes why he is so keen. Ed hands him a parcel he's been waiting for through the window. View through the car of the boy looking down at the package in his hands. He runs back into his house happily.
Ed arrives down a curved road at his next mail box. Unlike the other occations, he gets out of the car with an unusually shaped package to deliver right to the door, he tucks it under his arm as he approaches the house. A young girl is lying on a deckchair with wheels outside the entrance, she has a cast on her leg. Ed walks up to her. "…Katy's been a mighty patient little girl, she slipped off a hay cart earlier this year…" Her mother comes out of the front door and takes the parcel from Ed, she unwraps it to reveal a pair of crutches which they then hand the child.
View over a small road bridge as Ed drives towards and over it. A man kneeling in a field of vegetables looks up as he hears Ed's car drive up behind him "…usually along with the rest of the mail there'll be a love letter or two…" he runs over to the car. Ed leans out of his window and puts the letters into a mail box. "…the correspondent is generally absent minded and have a tendancy to stop work at the slightest provocation…" The young man runs across the road towards the box, he and Ed wave to each other as Ed drives off again, he opens the box in anticipation. The boy in the cap and buttoned up t-shirt flicks through the pile of letters in his hand "…they always look for particular handwriting and ignore the rest of their mail…" he tucks the rest under one arm to read the letter he's been waiting for. View of Ed's car driving down a curved road into the distance.
At the next destination - a dog and a girl are waiting by their mail box, the dog stands right in the middle of the road "…this dog has been carrying out a fued with the mailman for four years.." the car drives right up to it. View from inside the car as Ed hands out mail to the woman in a patterned dress. As we see the car pull away, the dog is standing just on the otherside "…so far, neither one has given an inch…" The woman holds her son's hand and all three meander off.
The car rolls up to a farm house with a gaggle of geese outside. Ed gets out of the car which is parled next to a cart of milk churns and walks round to the boot and gets a large box out. He hands it to a boy. Brief close-up shot of the contents of the box as he unpackages it, revealing it to be milking equipment. He and a colleague walk back into the farm with their new purchases.
A new mail box shot from low down as Ed pulls up along side it. The mail box, as a hand comes into frame and flicks its door open to get retriece a letter inside. The narrator describes this stamp collecting customer. Point of view from the mail box as Ed shuts the box and drives away. The car seen from behind as it drives up a sloping road.
A weather beaten mailbox on a vertical log, Ed pulls up between it and the camera, efficiently depositing post and leaving again.
A woman stands next to her mail box with one arm resting on it as Ed drives up but waves saddly as he goes straight by with no post to deliver. "…and even so, sometimes people are disappointed…" she walks away.
Another post box standing next to a tarmaced rural road bordered by small trees, Ed pulls up as the narrator describes the customer's egg business. A close-up of the box as he takes out a tin box of '1 Doz Eggs'.
A new destination, a teenage boy stands next to Ed's car as he passes a sheet of stamps to him to buy, this marks the beginnig of a montage of short clips of Ed delivering various items "…the folks buy stamps, insure their shipments, get the news, send cakes and clothes to their kids away in school, another day on the rural deliver route is done…" Ed's car continuing down rural roads. A shop with a shop keeper, Mr Denis, sweeping up outside, Ed drives by and they wave to each other, the music builds to a dramatic climax and Ed drives off into the sunset.


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