Personalities | 1950 | Sound | B/W
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W.B.Yeats , but no moving shots of him.
Whistle music develops later into orchestral music. Caption: The Cultural Relations Committee of Irelands present – ( text superimposed over a shot of sea and coastline). Caption W. B. Yeats – a Tribute.
Caption _ Produced by the National Film Institute of Ireland. Caption : Script by John D. Sheridan. Caption: Direction by Georg Fleischmann and John D. Sheridan. Caption: Verse spoken by Micheal Mac Liammoir and Siobhan McKenna – Commentator Cyril Cusack. Caption: Music by Eamonn O’ Gallchobhair. Caption: Photographed and edited by Georg Fleischmann. Caption: Sound Recording by Peter Hunt.
A still of W.B. Yeat with a mass of unruly white hair, he wears round spectacles, a smart jacket, waistcoat and bow tie, Cyril Cusack, the narrator is heard reading one of Yeats’s poems, “Know, that I would accounted be, True brother of a company, That sang, to sweeten Ireland's wrong, Ballad and story, rann and song.
Foam on waves of the sea as created by a moving boat– narrator tells us in 1948 Yeats came back to Ireland. Shot of the prow of a ship with four sailors, heads bowed standing around a coffin draped with the Irish flag – solemn drum beats heard – commentary tells us Yeats had died in Cap Martin on the French Riviera nine years earlier. More of the boat’s wake. Aerial shot showing the Irish coastline – a sandbank and low lying land beyond – it is Sligo in the province of Connacht – we see Ben Bulben rising in the distance – then we see a broad sweep of the mountains on the coastline adjacent Ben Bulben and then fields and a church in the distance – commentary tells us he came back to the country of Coole and Innisfree. From a way off we see a ridge of mountains covered in the shadows of clouds – a patchwork of fields on their lower slopes - Ben Bulben seen with its characteristic steep edge – then into view comes a church tower – Drumcliff (Drumcliffe), church is half hidden in a tall clump of trees. Now in the churchyard looking towards the church tower – gravestones and stone crosses are seen in front of a low building. The arched doorway to the church with gravestones to the right and the silhouettes of tall bare trees – Ben Bulben just visible behind – moving to take in one of the church windows with sunlight shining on it – then our view moves up the church tower to the top. A group of gravestones in Drumcliffe’s churchyard – we pass several until we reach a simply cut block of limestone which is Yeat’s grave – on it the words “Cast a cold eye, On Life on Death, Horseman pass by!” – W. B. Yeats , plus his dates, June 13th 1865 – January 28th 1939. Close up, we see the words of his epitaph on the stone as the narrator speaks them. A view looking down at fields and coastline of County Sligo, panning towards Ben Bulben and then further inland – narration tells us Yeats is as much associated with Sligo as Wordsworth was with the Lake District. On the shores of Lough Gill in County Sligo – as narration tells us of Yeats’s childhood growing up here in touch with nature. A field of high grass or possibly corn in Sligo county.
The city of Dublin in early 1950’s(?) – the road in front of the Irish Parliament Building and the House of Commons colonnade, as was, which is now the Bank of Ireland building,– double decker busses and other traffic visible plus the statue of Oliver Goldsmith in the grounds of Trinity College, Dublin – commentary talks of Dublin as the home of other writers – and also talks of it being Yeats’s birthplace. Trinity College Dublin on College Green with view towards the main buildings and the campanile – commentary about Yeats’s life in Dublin. Elevated view of Dublin, Merrion Square, trees and the green are visible and then the terrace of eighteenth century houses around the green. Panorama of mountains and a cornfield with haystacks as commentary says Yeats was never totally happy in cities.
Trafalgar Square London in 1950’s with Nelson’s column, St Martins in the Field, the fountains and part of the National Gallery visible – double decker busses. Close to a fountain in Trafalgar Suare with the base of Nelson’s Column in the background. Fountain viewed through stone columns. Picadilly Circus with statue of Eros in the centre – Bovril and Schweppes signs on the buildings behind, a Guiness clock showing a quarter past one – much traffic. The Strand, London again in 1950’s jammed with traffic. Mountains on the horizon in Sligo County leading down to Lough Gill and its islands – including Innisfree: then a reading of “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, and a small cabin build there of clay and wattles made, Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, and live alone in the bee-loud glade…” etc., At dusk, the waters of Lough Gill with the silhouette of the island of Innisfree seen in the middle of the water, past the reeds. At dusk, the lapping waters of the lake plus dark reeds as the recitation of the poem continues. Lake water lapping with dark reeds as the reading of the poem ends.
From high up we view the Lough with mountain behind and bare trees in the foreground – then Ben Bulben’s slopes running down to the lakeside – a small road with a stone wall edging it is in the foreground. Scene showing the village of Dromahair . The calm waters of the lough and sands of Lissadell. The Hill of Lugnagall, Sligo showing cliffs and wooded slopes, then a small whitewashed, thatched croft type cottage – all the above are places referred to in Yeats’s poem: The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland. Fields, hill and shoreline of the west of Ireland as we hear the words of the poem “The Host of the Air”, Lake water with dark reeds as we move past as if in a boat.
Exterior of Tullira Castle with its tower in County Galway – narration tells us Yeats visited Edward Martyn there in 1896. Another shot of Tullira Castle where Yeats met Lady Gregory.
Bare tree trunks in a field at Coole – the tunnel of trees. A shady lane at Coole – a dog runs onto the track and a man with walking stick follows – we hear lines from “The Wild Swans at Coole” poem:
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans..
Twlight on the waters of a lake. A large flock of swans on the lake. By day, the lake, presumably at Coole.
The shallows of a lake, rising to see a tower and an arched bridge which is the old castle at Ballylee which Yeats bought in 1917 – castle also known as Thoor Ballylee and Yeats’s Tower. The tower again. The land on the estate with a view of the ruins of the great house of Coole – ruins of its walls in evidence. Ruins of the house at Coole with ivy grown all over its remains – long grass in the foreground and we hear words from the poem, Coole Park, 1929:
Here traveller, scholar, poet, take your stand, / When all these rooms and passages are gone / When nettles wave upon a shapeless mound / And saplings root among the broken stone."
Exterior of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, exterior looks grimy – posters visible . Portrait of Lady Gregory in gilded frame. Oil paintings on the stairway of the Abbey Theatre. Portriait of the Irish actor William Fay. Portrait of the actor, Frank Fay. Portrait of Sara Allgood. Portrait of Arthur Sinclair, Portrait of Moira O’Neill. Poster from the outside of the Abbey Theatre announces Yeats’s play Cathleen ni Houlihan and also The Playboy of the Western world by Synge.
Aerial shot of a lough with islands and mountain in the background. Low lying hills with a field of tall grass in the foreground – we move to take in the ridge if a mountain – commentary talk about the part of Ireland that meant most to Yeats and we hear Cyril Cusack reciting lines from Red Hanrahan’s Song About Ireland: “The wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knock-narea, And thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve can say, Angers that are like noisy clouds have set our heart abeat; But we have all bent low and low and kissed the quiet feet, Of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan”. Clouds above a dark mountain ridge. A cascade of water falls down into a running stream. A high cliff over which a sheer waterfall flows. The poem continues, “The yellow pool has overflowed high up on Clooth-na-Bare, For the wet winds are blowing out of the clinging air; Like heavy flooded waters our bodies and our blood; But purer than a tall candle before the Holy Rood, Is Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan”. Waves breaking on flat rocks on the seashore. More foaming waves crash onto the shore.
The Irish flag flies from a pole next to the statue on a roof, possibly the General Post Office, in Dublin. Dark image of the statue if “The Dying Cuchulain” by Oliver Sheppard (1911), now at the General Post Office Dublin. A walking shadow of a person on a floor with words of Yeats’s poem “The Statues” - arrives at a stone containing Irish declaration of Independence superimposed with marching feet. Back to the statue and the Irish flag, a closer shot.
A double fronted house with sash windows and porch in a rural setting – it is Yeats’s house where he lived towards the end of his life, at Riversdale House in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham off the Ballyboden Road. Water flowing over a high weir. Low lying land on the coastline – moving along to the steep slope of Ben Bulben, then to see a row of small whitewashed cottages with wind-blown bare trees in front of them . Reeds on the edge of a lough as “Down by the Sally Gardens” is recited – then we move across the water as if in a boat.
Over the rooftops of a town in Sligo – ridge of hills visible in the distance and a church tower seen in the town – possibly Drumcliffe again – Ben Bulben in the distance. A waterfall. A view looking down at a meandering river emanating from a lough – a patchwork of fields. Waves crash onto the shore under moonlight. Aerial view over a lough as we hear “To Ireland in the Coming Times” read out. Sea shore leading to the slop of Ben Bulben with plaintive music . The churchyard at Drumcliffe with gravestones and bare trees – Ben Bulben in the background. At dusk, the silhouettes of thin reeds in a loch. A bright cloudscape leading down eventually to a view over calm sea.
Credits: Caption – presented by the cultural relations committee of Ireland. 21 26”
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