Film: 3829

Places + Locations | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

The town of Madison in Indiana, USA, great film. Small town America.

Panning shot of a river with a town on the far bank. Rooftops visible amongst trees. Another shot of the town and river. Expanse of wide river. The town against the sky. Buildings, including a church steeple or spire. A sloping tree lined pavement or sidewalk with shadows. Large river or lake visible through the trees. Shot of the town beside the river. Top of an old English tower, with a flag. An Italian campanile. A Gothic doorway. Slate roofs. A carved Greek style column. A Renaissance style fountain with carved figures holding drinking horns. A Roman style temple. View of the town by the river again.

Pan down from the English tower to a building which houses a fraternal hall and a furniture store. A man walks out from an arch of the building, other people pass by and there is a parked car. Pan down from the Italian campanile or bell tower to reveal the fire station, with a fire engine leaving it. The Greek columns are revealed to be part of the National Branch Bank, crowds of pedestrians walk past the bank and past parked cars. Children splash in the town fountain. A steam boat passes on the river, with steam billowing out.

A middle aged man wearing a jacket, shirt and tie, a confectioner according to the commentary, looks down at something he is busy with. A man wearing glasses, a newspaper man, types at a typewriter then answers the telephone. His shirt sleeves are rolled up to his elbows. There is an angle poise lamp and a desk diary or calendar on his desk. Another man sits at a desk smoking, he talks to someone. An elderly man and woman sit at a table talking and smiling, they both have what looks like glasses of milk shake in front of them. The man wears glasses and is almost bald, the woman wears a hat. A small boy sits at a high chair, eating Italian spaghetti with a fork and his fingers. The rest of his family sit at the table having dinner, his mother dishes out from a bowl of spaghetti to at least four other children and two adults.

The town by the river. Aerial view of a wide main street. Statue of James Madison, fourth president of the United States. Close up of the statue. Aerial view of the river and town. A field of crops. Farm buildings. Another farm building (maybe a grain store), with hens and chickens outside. Close up of hands picking grapes. Several men, all wearing hats, pick grapes. A man and a woman in a field pick up large leaves, the woman collects them on a stick. Aerial shot of a man leading a horse away from a farm building. A woman, the farmer's wife, carries a basket of eggs from the hen house. A man loads milk cans and goats onto the farm truck - it is Saturday, market day. The man stands on the truck and loads crates. A market scene, there are carts and stalls and large baskets of fruit and vegetables. A man stands by his stall and weighs out food in the scales for an unseen customer, then puts it in a paper bag and hands it over.

Cars travel along Main Street. Various shots of Main Street, one shows traffic lights. A point of view shot from a moving vehicle shows shops on the street.

A bowling ball hits skittles and they all fall down except one. A man and a woman throw bowling balls in the bowling alley, other people sit behind them and watch. Men sit at a bar, the bar man serves drinks. Three men play pool, people also play at another table behind them. A group of people dance, holding hands and moving around in a circle. A man smoking a cigar sits playing draughts or chequers. Close up of the man looking down intently. People queueing up. View from behind of people in a darkened cinema, the usherette walks up the side. Front view of people in a cinema audience. People sit at tables in a crowded drug store and stand at the counter. There are people of all ages drinking and talking, mainly young women, also a sailor.

Children play in an orchestra on stage in a Saturday night school concert, with a conductor. Close up of girls playing violins. Older children play in the brass section - trombones and trumpets.

Sunday. A wide tree lined avenue with shadows, church bells are ringing. The church and spire. People go up the steps to the church, the women wear hats. Church interior, the vicar preaches from the pulpit. Various shots of different church towers to show the different faiths that people practise. A man wearing outdoor clothes, a hat and wellington boots leaves a house carrying a fishing rod. Another man wearing a suit follows him, they speak briefly then go their separate ways. Close up of the fisherman's face as he sits fishing, he is wearing glasses.

Monday. A boat passes on the river. Children run up the steps to a school, there are a lot of bicycles parked outside. On the wall inside is a painting or portrait, probably of the founder. Children (they look like young teenagers) sit attentively in the classroom with their books. A teacher writes on the blackboard. Close up of the teacher with the blackboard behind him, he has been writing on it in French. Long panning shot of the children in class.

Children jump and dive into a large outdoor swimming pool. One girl goes down the slide into the pool. Children climb up the steps out of the pool. There are several close up shots of various girls' faces. Children run around and play games in a school playground. Some play hopscotch. Others play marbles or jacks, a boy crouches on the ground with others behind him. In hopscotch one girl jumps and lands on her bottom. A boy hits something with a stick. A child lays on the grass playing with a kitten and laughing.

A young man carries a book, reading. He is in the public library. Another man takes a book from the shelves. Various shots of people reading: a woman with grey hair, a man wearing a jacket and tie with his hand supporting his head, a young woman wearing a tweed patterned jacket and wristwatch, a black man, two young girls who look at one another, a boy with a dog, he rubs the dog's head, a woman with a baby in a bonnet, the baby holds the book. Library stacks and shelves.

The entrance to the town's newspaper office, above the entrance is carved "Established 1837". In the office people wait by a printing machine and take a piece of paper from it. Printing presses roll.

Shot of the town across the river. Exterior of the town hall with columns. Inside sits the mayor smoking a cigar, he waves the smoke away. People sit inside a court room, a court of law. Close up of one "common man". The judge sits at his desk, with the American flag beside him. Three men sit around a table, one stands. The twelve members of a jury sit in the court room. View of other people in the room. Panning shot of the jury members, only one is a woman. The judge clasps his hands and smiles at the jury. The prosecutor speaks.

Flashback to the prosecutor at a political campaign, he speaks from a podium with men wearing suits and hats behind him. He waves his hands as he speaks against the current mayor. American democracy in progress in an election, the town's people vote at the ballot box, they are given their ballot papers by officials sitting at a table.

Another shot of the town across the river. Concluding shots of the town's inhabitants and buildings. Marching soldiers wearing helmets, off to fight in World War II. They march past people. Soldiers in a truck, they are waved off by the inhabitants. Final shot of the town by the river.

Ends.


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