Film: 7707

Newsreels + Film Magazines | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Short films covering various topics, young mining trainees in county Durham; tanks being turned into tractors; efforts to heap up coal stocks in winter; and a Scottish miner (Tom Syme?), who represented Britain in Olympic ice hockey.

Intertitle: 'Living in'. A young man, Ted McGee, arrives at a residential mining training centre of corrugated huts. He descends steps. He stops to listen outside a door. On the other side, boys listen to a teacher telling them about pits. Closer, of one of the students. Another. (By living at the centre, the boys learn more about mining.) The classroom again. Ted comes away from the other side of the door. He descends more steps. And knocks on the warden's door. He goes in. And the warden warmly receives him. Ted smiling under his fluffy moustache.

Ted's attention is distracted as the time is 4 o'clock. Boys rush from their classrooms. They hurry into the fields. Other boys return from training at the pit, wearing their helmets, a colliery visible in the distance. Boys in underpants hurry to the showers. Boys shower, we look at their naked bottoms while the soundtrack (quite funny) plays a jaunty tune.
The welfare officer and boys in the dining room (a temporary building with economy furniture). The welfare officer enters his office. Boys play snooker and table tennis in the games room. Closer. Others watch. Ted watches a game of snooker. Two boys playing darts. The welfare officer and warden look on. A boy throws his darts, which hits the board. The boy throws again. The darts hit the board again. More studious boys play chess. Less studious boys play cards. Boys watching snooker. One of them says something. A difficult shot is lined up, and a black potted. Ted has a go. The warden and welfare officer, smiling and nodding their heads.

Intertitle: 'New look for tanks'. A field full of redundant Sherman tanks from World War Two (all minus their gun turrets) - suburban houses in the background, two men driving one tank in the foreground. (The tank dump is in Staffordshire). One tank tows another in a muddy field. Closer, of tracks churning mud. An oxy-acetylene cutter cuts the tracks in a factory. Another cutter removes the steel body work. The engine is taken out by 3 men using a winch. One of the men. All three again. A mechanic overhauls one of the engines. Workmen cut new parts for the body. Three men put a side plate in position. It is welded on. The bogeys are put back. And welded on. Two welders at work. Two men attach the cabin. One of the men lowering it with a rope. Both men again. The other man . Three workers fit the engine back. One of the men's faces. The engine is secured with a coupling link. The man doing this. The coupling link. A mechanic works on the tracks. The driver gets the OK for the starter, he hits the starter button.

The tank, now a tractor, rolls out of the factory or work shed ( to be used to shift the overburden at open-cast coalmines). Closer. Two of these 'tractors' in a field, pulling a wagon. Another angle. (Commentary talks of turning swords into ploughshares). The wagon scrapes up the soil or overburden.

Intertitle: 'Keep it moving!'. A colliery, chimney stacks, buildings and pit head, a miner looks up at the weather. A graph showing coal stocks in 1946 and 1947. A machine lifts a coal-filled wagon. And tips out the coal. A small heap of coal, miners walking past. A huge coal heap, colliery buildings behind. A dockyard crane lifts a coal wagon over a ship. The ship's stern with its name: 'Humbergate'. The wagon is emptied into the ship's hold. The hold of a canal barge, full of coal. A steam train hauls coal wagons. A railway line operates. The coal wagons hurry along a track. Similar. Again. A line operator operates a sophisticated looking (for the time) system. Closer. Coal wagons (called trucks here) of varying sizes on a rail track. Montage of men unloading coal from wagons. A railway sign for Haslemere, in Surrey. Where the local cricket team help unload coal. Other voluntary workers, walking on a coal lorry. The driver. Coal lorries fill up and move out. Again. Two full lorries drive along a country road. A man presses a button to operate a machine tipping coal from a wagon. (The film concerned the need and efforts to heap up coal stocks.)

Intertitle: 'Coal on Ice'. Miners step out of a lift, filthy after their shift, at Nerhol, a colliery in Scotland. They walk away, one of them is called Tom Syme(?) . Four miners, now clean and in their own clothes, walk and smoke. Tom has just finished his last shift as he is off to St Moritz to play ice hockey for Britain at the Olympics. Tom's friends and family see him off at Dunfermline railway station. As the train arrives. Another angle. Tom boards the train. His friends and family shake his hand as the train pulls away. Similar.

Women figure skating on Dunfermline ice-rink. (where Tom trained for 2,5 years). The voice-over asks rhetorically 'who wouldn't [train there]?' as we watch attractive women figure skate, sexist commentary. Two women glide on the ice. Others twirl and leap. Others chute and leave the rink, then the Dunfermline ice hockey senior and junior teams come out to play each other (Tom's last practice match).

The two teams ready to start, led by Tom. A senior player takes the puck and shoots. Overview of the junior goal as the puck is scrambled away. A junior player. The juniors score. The two sides start again, the seniors pushing forward, knocking a junior to the floor. A junior- Tom's brother, Timmy, takes the puck. A dash of blades for the puck. Tom skates to one side. Players fall over each other. View from a goal net. Fresh seniors come on to the rink. Others take their place on the bench. Fast play on the rink. Overview of a goal and goalkeeper. Substitutes watch from the bench. Vigorous hockey play. Substitute watches. Seniors come off the rink and the substitutes come back on. Two players toss a hockey puck. Play resumes. Montage of skates sending up showers of ice spray, players crashing about and chasing each other, and substitutes urging them on.

Credit, end title over the shot of Tom leaving the colliery with his friends, again.


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