Film: 1739

Social History | 1940 | Silent | Colour


Amateur home movie film made in the summer of 1945 or later, featuring young Brownies, Girl Guides and Scouts playing in the grounds of a stately home in Britain 1940's

A man-made rock formation in the middle of a river - seven naked boys (approximately 10 years old) clamber over the jutting rocks, peering into the water below - a manicured garden with a mass of daffodils is in the background. A group of fairly pale-looking boys and girls (the boys in swimming trunks and the girls in cotton dresses) run up the slight incline of the lawn towards a bricked, ivy-covered, turreted stately home - oak and pine trees are to its right, a few adults mingle amongst the children on this sunny day in the British countryside. Naked boys continue to play in the foreground of the frame, tossing large rocks into the shallow river, smiling with delight as they create large water splashes - the river gently meanders away behind them and a group of older boys congregate on the lawn, whilst an authoritative male wearing a white Panama hat approaches the river. Four boys play at the rocks - they are aware of the camera's gaze. The older boys run down the lawn at speed, smiling and flailing their arms. The calm water is unsettled as the boys jump into the river, splashing their arms to create torrents of water droplets - some girls, with bobbed haircuts, approach the riverside and watch the ensuing chaos. Three man and two women recline amongst the daises on the lawn, and a group of boys run past them.

The man in the Panama hat sits on the grass, writing some notes, he is watched by young boy in shorts and an older one in presumably a Scout's uniform (?) - dark knee length socks, shorts, a shirt with small badges on it and a black tie - an approximately 60 year old woman, wearing a formal hat and mid-calf length dress - possibly the Lady of the house (?) - kneels down by them - the younger boy gets up and runs off. The threesome are joined by another boy in uniform who has a flag or neck-scarf in his hand. The boys watch the man's jottings. Close-up of the elderly woman smiling at the camera - the children continue to play behind her - she has a stills camera in her hands. The children stand and talk on the lawn. A small naked boy runs along the opposite verge of the riverbank.

The boys sit at the top of the grass hill, some female adults sit behind them - one wearing what is presumably a 'Brown Owl's uniform (?) - the male without his Panama has an accordion strapped to his chest and watches as progressively more boys go to sit down - the camera pans to pairs of girls standing, facing each other. The girls start to dance, skipping and smiling as they circle a pair of girls wearing the dark dresses of the Brownies (?) - they start to dance in a Polka style, twisting their partners around, they then link arms and circle each other, start to skip again, repeat the Polka and then end their dancing abruptly.

Close-up of the man smiling as he plays the accordion - he shouts something over to the children. A group of boys in trunks follow each other in single file, jogging to create a circle of bodies on the lawn - the smaller, younger boys form the tail-end of the line and experience difficulties in retaining its shape - the older boys who are trim and well muscled, raise their knees high, balancing with their arms behind their backs, glancing over at the others. The group in a semi-circle, at a standstill - one older boys stands apart form them. The older boy runs off. Six rows of boys follow the older boy in a strenuous workout - they exercise using a range of movements, some of the boys rhythm is lacking! The boys perform a more complex routine - they all smile profusely at their efforts. The boys sit on the ground, bringing their knees and heads together. The boys run in a line, and one after the other, perform front somersaults along the ground - the crowd of onlookers watch from behind as the older boys become more daring, executing body flips and cartwheels, and rolling backwards. A choreographed act as three boys cleverly miss each other by rolling or jumping out of each others way - the crowd smile with pleasure.

An aerial shot of the patio - some well-dressed ladies sit in deckchairs whilst the elderly lady pours liquid into the cups of the waiting boys - she walks over to the wall which has trays of sandwiches and cakes adorning it, and rows of boys leaning against, or sitting on, it - the camera pans to the trees in the background. The prominently female adults sit in the chairs -a young boy offers food from his tray - the camera pans to the right where other groups are sitting. The man, wearing his Panama again, chats to some seated adults - the camera pans over the different groups who have congregated to eat and drink. A group of boys stand on some steps leading into the house, peering inside. The boys leave the entrance with jugs of drink, the elderly woman follows and moves onto the crowded patio. The lady and man talk whilst around them, boys tuck into their food, some looking into the camera's lens. Some girls sit and drink from their mugs. A young boy sits on the low wall, happily eating his bread in silence.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 1739.