Film: 8179

Industry + Work | 1950 | Sound | B/W


An often entertaining public information film designed to encourage employers to provide more welcoming and helpful job interviews and induction procedures for prospective and new workers. It includes good footage of an electronics factory in the 1950s.

As the title appears, we see a teenage boy, Joe, with hair brylcreemed back, sit down to the right of a kitchen table in front of a window, opposite his aproned mother; he takes a sip of tea and then tucks into a cooked breakfast. A closer shot of Joe, collar undone, finishing his breakfast, as we are told that he is on his way to an interview for 'a new factory job'. The two stand up and Joe kisses his mother goodbye.

Joe is seen approaching from the other side of a wire mesh gate. The factory clock shows half past nine, as we are told that his interview is at ten; the clock changes to ten o' clock. Still seen through the wire mesh, Joe straightens his tie and pushes the gate. He emerges, closing the gate behind him; the camera follows him as he approaches the gatekeeper, dressed in a three-piece suit and hat, and reading a newspaper in his hut; Joe presents himself, passing his interview card across. Joe looks on nervously. The gatekeeper points to the right across the picture and Joe heads in that direction, before he is called back grumpily and given his card.

A secretary clatters away on an old-fashioned typewriter to the left of the picture, as a knock is heard and Joe enters through a door to the right; he approaches the woman, who just continues typing, and hands her his card; she tells him bluntly to go to a particular room and fill out a form.

Joe struggles to fill out his form at a desk in the room, discovering that the jar of ink left there is empty. The secretary faces us, still typing, while Joe appears on the right and passes her the jar of ink, which she exchanges for another without speaking. We look down upon Joe, sitting bored in the corner of the waiting room. He takes out his cigarettes and smokes. He tries to read some tatty magazines at a table there, then discovers that there is no ash tray. A close-up of him flicking ash into the turn-ups of his trousers. He smokes, looking left across the picture, when the secretary's voice is heard summoning him to Mr Denison; he stands up, picks up his form and straightens his tie.

Mr Denison faces us at his desk, speaking angrily on the telephone, while Joe waits on the left until the man turns to him with an irritated expression. Joe sits down and passes his form towards us. A close-up of Mr Denison's pencil combing the form, as we hear him demanding details about Joe's education. A sequence of shots of Mr Denison talking, his pencil marking the form and Joe saying just 'Yes' and 'No'; 'not a very helpful atmosphere', the commentator remarks. Alternating shots of Mr Denison on the telephone and Joe looking on, bored. We look towards the desk, as the secretary appears behind, and Mr Denison explains to her that 'Tom Dyson has got himself into some trouble again', and that she will have to pass Joe on to the factory foreman.

We look towards the foreman behind his desk, with a man in overalls, George, to the right of him, as the secretary appears in front of them with Joe; the foreman explains that he has got to put some new machinery today, but reluctantly agrees to see Joe. The foreman passes his form to George. Joe corrects the foreman's misintroduction of him as 'Joe Taylor', saying 'Palmer'. George looks over Joe, as we hear that the boy was taken on, but was not 'too happy'.

At home at the kitchen table Joe idly spoons his tea. A close-up of his mother suggesting that they were probably having a bad day at the factory. Joe looks back at her, unconvinced.

Joe knocks at the door to the foreman's office. The foreman faces us at his desk and says 'Come in'; Joe stands with his back to us, as the man looks at him blankly, then remembers him more cheerfully as the 'new chap'. A side-on view of them either side of the desk, as the foreman explains that they are busy this morning, but that he's got just enough time to show him around; he stands up, glancing at his pocket watch, and leads Joe away.

Several views of the foreman leading Joe at a frenetic pace around parts of the factory; we see many workers sitting or standing at tables in rows. They appear at the top of some stairs, where George appears and Joe is handed over once more; the foreman asks George to find an 'odd job' for Joe today.

Joe is seen emptying a box into an iron barrel; pulling a trolley stacked with boxes; and sweeping a floor, before looking towards us in frustration. He leans idly against a bridge over the factory floor, and yawns. His feet cross, before he walks off to the right. He stands, looking towards us, before he starts to light a cigarette; George appears and reprimands him, showing him a 'No Smoking' sign behind. Standing behind some seated workers in the factory, Joe asks a man where the toilet is. Looking down a corridor, we see him asking a man where the canteen is. Joe stands with his back to us in the foreground, as he is ticked off by the Superintendent on their first meeting for being late one morning. Joe looks towards a noticeboard on the left. A series of shots of notices signed by 'AE Robinson'; we hear that it took a long time before Joe realised who the Works Manager was. Joe is seen at work, with his back to us, before he turns round, looking angry and frustrated: he does not know who to see about the 'rate' on his job being 'too tight'.

We see the foreman at his desk; a side-on view of the grey-haired, bespectacled Works Committee Representative at his desk; and Mr Denison at his desk, on the telephone, smoking. Joe throws down a tool and puts on his jacket; we are told that 'he joined the growing army of men moving from job to job'. He walks away from us, out of the factory gate, kicking a couple of stones.

As the commentator explains that it could all have gone very differently, Joe appears once more, with his back to us, in front of the gatekeeper; as the old gatekeeper reaches out for his card, the commentator interjects: 'Hold it! Put a little more enthusiasm into it', and reasons with the gatekeeper who listens, nodding. Joe reappears through the gate and is followed to the gatekeeper's hut, where the old man leaps out and shakes Joe's hand with absurd excitement; the tall, bear-like commentator actually appears beside them, telling the old man not to 'overdo it' and asking him to try again. The camera follows Joe once more towards the hut, where the commentator prompts the gatekeeper ('Paper down. Stand up. Smile') and tells him to phone Mr Denison. Joe looks on cheerfully. The gatekeeper calls over Tom and asks him to take Joe up to Mr Denison.

A sequence of quick flashbacks to Joe's earlier experiences in the Employment Office. The secretary sits typing as Joe knocks, but now she greets him and is cheerful and helpful. The desk in the waiting room suddenly acquires clean blotting paper and a vase of flowers. The tatty magazines on the table are replaced by neat copies of Picture Post, Lilliput and other periodicals. As the commentator recommends 'a display of the firm's products', we see a television and some radio sets, beside photographs of factory staff at work. A picture on the waiting room wall. A mirror. Joe inspects an item in the display, when the secretary is heard calling him through; he is followed to the mirror, where he straightens his tie.

This time Mr Denison finishes his telephone conversation quickly and puts down the receiver. He smiles at Joe and shakes hands, asking him to sit down; he asks the switchboard not to put through any calls unless they're urgent. Alternating shots of Joe and Mr Denison, Joe doing most of the talking this time. Mr Denison tells Joe, sitting side-on on the left, that he will take him down to the foreman.

The foreman explains to Joe across his desk that he is busy this morning, before the commentator appears from the right, sits on the desk and tells him not to appear so rushed; Joe gets up, as they try again. The foreman sits at his desk, as he hears a knock, and calls in Joe, this time instantly remembering him; he puts him at his ease, explaining that he'll show him around and introduce him to people. Joe looks back, listening. A side-on view of the foreman getting up and leading Joe out.

They emerge from the office and the foreman calls over 'Mr Smith' (George), who greets him cheerfully, while the foreman explains that he should see him first if he has any problems. The foreman shows Joe the clocking-on machine, then introduces him to the passing Superintendent, who wishes him well. The foreman and Joe walk away from us through the factory, before the commentator chases after them and calls them back; they retreat, then look up at a 'No Smoking' sign, to which the foreman draws attention. We look across at 'Mr Robinson, the Works Manager' who can be seen with the Superintendent beside a row of workers.

They appear beside a bespectacled worker, Danny, to whom the foreman introduces Joe. A series of flashbacks to Joe looking bored with the 'odd jobs' that he has been asked to do. Now the foreman asks Danny to show Joe how the real job is done. A series of shots of Danny at work with various tools, while Joe and the foreman look on. Joe himself works alone, now in a brown coat; the foreman comes to see him and he responds cheerfully.

A close-up of the Works Manager addressing new workers, as we are told that 'heads of department' tell Joe about the firm during his induction course. Joe is seen among the audience. Another head of department speaks, before the camera moves left to a blackboard covered in information about Income Tax. A view of the audience again, as the camera moves in on Joe; several more voices are heard lecturing. Joe's face strains with concentration as he works in the factory. The End.

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