Film: 5915

Social History | 1970 | Sound | Colour + B/W

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Synopsis:

Superb Sociological study of children 1970's

[B/w] Children run to camera; they are at the zoo. They make gestures of melodramatic surprise, clutching their heads when they see a polar bear. This is seven years earlier in 1963. The children are seven years old; there are fourteen of them. Some smile and laugh, others throw things. 1963 interviews with the children. Three girls are Jackie, Lindsay and Susan. Then see them in 1970 (colour).
1963: Boy's heart's desire is to see his daddy who is 6000 miles away. By 1970 he gets on well with his stepfather and sees his father occasionally.
1963: Nicholas from Yorkshire Dales is asked, "Do you have a girlfriend?" He is not answering "them (sic) kind of questions." In 1970, as a fourteen year old, he is shyer still - "No, I'm not answering that one."
1963: Susie does ballet. 1970: "I gave that up; I'm a failure."
1963: Paul - "I was going to be a policeman, but I thought how hard it would be to join in." 1970: he lacks confidence playing sports he likes.
By 1970, Simon (black) has realised he won't be a film star, but will be an electrical engineer.
Three prep. School boys chosen in 1963 from an exclusive school in Kensington, London. They are singing 'Waltzing Matilda' in Latin. Charles, Andrew and John. In 1963, Andrew reads the Financial Times. The three boys sit together. John reads the "other Times". Charles asks friends what they like about the newspaper. John reads the headlines and then reads about them. In 1970 the three boys sit side-by-side on a sofa. 1963: Andrew reads the Financial Times because it shows his share prices. In 1970, Andrew says that he exaggerated and that he had made mistakes when he was seven, that he was not going to Trinity Hall, but Trinity College - "My father didn't like that." John correctly predicted that he would be going to Westminster boarding school; we see him there in 1970. Charles correctly predicted that he would go to Marlborough College. Andrew correctly predicted he would go to Charterhouse.
Susie (the ballet dancer) correctly predicted she would go to Southover Manor.
[These preceding children are the ones whose parents are rich]
[The poor] Tony at seven wanted to be a jockey. At fourteen, he is riding a horse in his free time at Tommy Gosling's racing stables at Epsom. Tony rides out. He stands on an upturned bucket and grooms horse's mane. He is happy.
1970: Bruce at a preparatory boarding school in Surrey. Boys marching and marking time; authoritarian boy gives orders. Bruce fails to mark time and is kicked. Boys do exercises.
Fourteen year old boys explain benefits of boarding - companionship, self-sufficiency. Simon was brought up in a children's home. He has only just moved back in with his mother. He has no father - "What you don't have, you don't miss."
Seven year old Paul was at the same children's home as Simon. We see him stripping his bed in a dormitory. At eight, Paul and his family emigrated (to Australia). At fourteen, his memory (with an Australian accent) is of rain in England. [colour very bad] He hasn't made up his mind about job. Rides horse.
Simon was in some ways happier in the home than outside it. In the home, everyone was a friend.
Fourteen year olds, Neil and Peter, cycle home from Liverpool comprehensive school; they prop their bikes up. The boys were friends at seven; they played international wrestling then, but at fourteen they play chess. One checkmates the other and smiles. They think competition is a good thing.
The three seven-year old girls from the East End (of London) have the choice of comprehensive of grammar schools.
Seven-year old Lindsay: "I'm going to work in Woolworth's." Chose the grammar school. See her at fourteen in a chemistry lesson in a laboratory.
Jackie and Susan went to the comprehensive. Its advantages are that it has everything, all the equipment you could want. Girls can do metalwork and woodwork too. Lindsay says that in a grammar school, not many girls will want to do metalwork or woodwork. Susan says "that shows the difference in the people."
At seven year-old Bruce's school, the boys are in uniform and play triangles as an older boy conducts. This was Bruce's free time.
Peter goes home, "has a cup of tea" and goes out to play. We see him skipping along the pavement in his duffel coat. Jackie, Lindsay and Susan watch TV. Susie goes to bed at seven o'clock.
Tony goes to bed at ten or eleven o'clock. At fourteen. Tony goes dog-racing or watches TV. The ex-prep. School boys don't watch much television at fourteen.
Susan and Jackie like TV, especially the soap operas, 'Peynton Place' and 'Crossroads'.
Andrew is doing an archaeological dig.
Neil never has time to relax at all, he has to keep up with the leaders.
Jackie and Susan go out with friends or to clubs. Susan thinks the clubs in the East End are "disgusting". Jackie stifles a smile.
Susie has moved to Scotland to the 4,000-acre estate of her father. Horse-riding. She can ride, swim, play tennis, ping-pong, croquet. Outdoors: The interviewer asks, "What about the social life?" Whilst she is answering, her golden labrador is in the background. It chases and catches a wild rabbit which writhes. Susie pulls a face when the interviewer points this out to her. The rabbit lies dead at the dog's feet. "Does it worry you?" "No, not at all." "Why?" "Well, I've been brought up to it."
Close-up of hands playing the piano. John is being taught how to play the piano, by a gowned master. "Is John ambitious?" "Yes." "What for?" "Fame and power, political power."
Nicholas in 1963 talks about holidays, townspeople want holidays in the countryside, whilst "we want holidays in town." In 1970 he has been to Leeds twice, but not to Manchester. Only went to London when he was seven to do the original programme in 1963. Nicholas won scholarship to Yorkshire boarding school. We see him with young boy throwing stones into river. He is not interested in farming. At seven, he wanted to find out about "the moon and all that."
1970: Andrew has holidayed to America to stay with somebody from school.
1970: Tony has been on holiday to Austria. It was "not bad", but he wouldn't like to travel.
Bruce skis in Switzerland and he enjoys that.
Neil enjoyed Switzerland - beautiful and interesting. Austria too, but not as much.
Lindsay has never been abroad, nor Jackie, but Susan has, to Spain, Gibraltar and Casablanca.
John outlines where he has holidayed - France, Spain and Switzerland.
Colin and travel: with the school, he has been to Box Hill and on mystery tours in the country. History and Geographical and Science museums. Been to Madame Tussaud's and Planetarium (Baker St., London) with his mum. He would like to go to Majorca.
1963: John and Andrew talk about the disadvantages of girls - they distract their grandmothers when they kiss boys in the street and they want to play with dolls when boys want to play 'rough and tumble'. By 1970, Andrew is more tolerant of girls. They are no longer bores who won't play this. They are half of the community and they are there. Andrew wears a commemorative poppy in his buttonhole.
Susie in 1963 would like to be married with two children. She would like a nanny to look after them. 1970: Susie doesn't answer the question, "Do you have a boyfriend?", but she does sneer.
1970: Bruce does not have a girlfriend, but he is sure it will happen.
1963: Paul wary of a wife in case she cooks him greens which he doesn't like. 1970 Paul prefers to live alone.
In 1970, Tony does not want a girlfriend.
1970: Nicholas dreadfully embarrassed by question about girls.
Peter likes a girl in 1963, Neil doesn't like her because she gets cross with him. 1970 Neil admits, "perhaps I'm not mature enough yet to be interested."
Jackie and Susan laugh in 1970 when asked if they have boyfriends.
[End of Part One at 26:44]

[Part Two 26:59]
Susie doesn't want to continue doing the programme.
Andrew and John not sure they portray an accurate impression of public schoolboys. John is not typical because he is a bit more reactionary than most.
If Bruce had voted, he would probably have voted Labour.
John - Conservative.
Colin would not have voted.
Susie - Conservative.
Peter: "They're both as bad as each other."
Lindsay - Labour.
Charles - doesn't know.
Andrew would not vote Labour.
Tony - Conservative.
Susie doesn't know why she would vote Conservative; politics does not interest her.
Bruce doesn't agree with Conservative racial policies.
1963: Susan asks Jackie about coloured people - she had said once that she liked them. Jackie says they are nice, "just the same as us really."
1963: They're "just the same as me."
1963: Susie: "I don't know anybody who's coloured, and I don't want to."
1970: Susie with dog on lawn: "I've nothing against coloured people, but I wouldn't worry if I never met one till the day I died."
1970: Colin: coloured and white people must get used to be with white and coloured people respectively. People have got to just mix in with everybody else."
1970: Charles thinks it wrong that there are places in England where there are more coloured people than whites.
1970: Tony: "good ol' Enoch (Powell)."
1970: Neil - "I've got nothing against coloured people, but it seems as if they're taking people's jobs."
1970: Nicholas doesn't care about colour.
1970: Andrew: black and white are equal, (as long as they are as well-educated as each other).
1970: John thinks racial discrimination, and all discrimination is "rather vile". In politics John would not allow any strikes.
Peter thinks (1970) that workers do take liberties with strikes.
Jackie thinks management are to blame for strikes.
John doesn't like unemployment pay.
Lindsay is not commenting because her mum's been on strike.
Andrew doesn't think a party can ban strikes because they wouldn't get voted into Parliament.
1963: The children at a party - balloons fall from the ceiling. Susie holds her head happily. Colin eats a cake. Jackie dances. Andrew and all children dance. Lindsay drinks Coca-Cola from a bottle.
1963: Andrew found some of the others a bit too rough for his liking - he got hit and still has a pain. Tony thinks the prep. School boys are "nuts". John thought some of them were rather dirty.
Colin doesn't think much of rich people because "they think they can do everything."
Susan asks "What would you do if you got £2?" - Lindsay and Jackie would give it to the poor, because otherwise they would die. They have harvest festivals and give food away.
John, Andrew and Charles don't like the other childrens' accents.
1970: John doesn't meet children from other backgrounds at school; thinks peoples' interests are more important.
1970: Colin: Poor people miss things because they are poor - Colin is missing a bike and a fishing rod.
1970: Tony: Rich people can get what they want.
1970: Charles says Public Schools can be accused of fostering the class system, but so can comprehensives which make 'proles' mix with 'proles'. Andrew says they do mix with people from the town.
1970: Jackie and Susan don't like people who are too posh. "They look down."
1970: Charles: People are less class conscious. Andrew: "Anyone can become a hippy."
Bruce thinks school teaches you to be reasonably well-mannered and not to 'sniff' on the poorer people. Susan thinks rich people sometimes waste their money. Nicholas is depressed by the poverty of some people. Andrew was upset by the 'Gorbals' in Glasgow. Jackie and Susan don't think it is fair that some people are born to wealth.
Peter saves some money and spends some. Colin gets £1 a week. During the middle of the week his mum takes '10 bob' back. He saves as much as he can. Paul (1970) earns A$4.50. John gets 8 shillings a week and spends it on stamps. Tony: "Dad gives me £2, mum about '30 bob', and my brother gives me some."
Charles doesn't want to be rich, but wants enough money to have a nice house and private schools for his children. Nicholas doesn't want to be poor. Susan says money is important because of new fashions, 'minis' (miniskirts) etc. Lindsay thinks "money doesn't buy happiness." Jackie just wants to "live comfortable (sic) to see you've got all you need." Peter "wouldn't mind" being rich. John - "Yes!" so he can indulge himself. Colin: "No, because you get bored, just like the poor get bored of being poor." Neil wants "good health and good friends", Charles to be "self-sufficient". Bruce "would help people." Charles thinks "it's wrong to drive oneself to make lots of money."
Bruce on religion: Scientists have not seen God, so therefore concludes God doesn't exist. Nicholas: "I'm not sure if I believe in God or not."
Neil does. Andrew - "God is the most logical." Peter: "I'm not deeply religious, but I do believe in God." John: "I just do." Susan was brought up to believe in God, so she does; Lindsay, "You must have your own opinion."
Jackie - "How do you know?"
Colin: "When I sit down and think, I think I believe in God, but if somebody just asked me, I'd say no." Tony can't say - he hasn't seen him!
Bruce no longer wishes to be a missionary because he can't stand up and make a speech.
Seven year old ambitions: Oxford, Woolworth's, Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
"I might just walk around." Peter: "I don't think you need to go to university if you want to be an astronaut." Nicholas - "What is university?"
Neil wants to be a coach driver.
At fourteen: Neil wants to travel. Peter no longer wants to be an astronaut. Fourteen year old Jackie wants to have a happy family. Susan to "just be content with what I'm doing." John: "probably a legal career." Colin: "to be like anybody else." If Tony can't be a jockey, he will be a taxi driver. Susan won't get married too early.
John: "England won't change; England is too English."
John and Charles argue about pursuit of happiness.
1963: aerial ride in East End. Children on adventure playground. Children from the home set about building a house. Use of play pickaxe. Tony slides down pole. Andrew and Bruce roll tyre around. Susie on a swing; Jackie, Susan and Lindsay on slide. Rope swing.


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