Film: 8676

Places + Locations | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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Scotland and the poet Robert Burns 1950's

Opening sequences: The Saltire Singers sing a traditional song over shots of a man and a horse ploughing a field. Commentary identifies view from open fields stretching down to view of the sea with hills situated on island . ( Firth of Clyde unidentified ) . Exterior of Burns' house with 1950s tour bus Reg No. L3C 62 . A group of girl guides alight from the bus. Burns Cottage sign which reads "Burns Cottage, Robert Burns the Ayrshire Poet, was born in the cottage on the 25th January A.D. 1759, died 21st July A.D. 1796 aged 37 1/2 years . Shots of tourists. Commentary makes reference to tourists from many lands and in shot we see an Indian couple, the woman wearing a red sari. Grecian monument commemorating Burns home on the banks of the Avon. Excellent shot of valley and bridge over the River Doon. Saltire Singers get into full flow over footage of farmer with horse and cart with two boys, entering courtyard. The father and one boy unbuckle the horse. Cut to young men in overalls racking the hay with forks. A group of young children run and play in the idyllic countryside setting. A young boy and girl play near a stream. He lowers an empty jam jar into the water and examines the contents. Old school building at Kirkcoswald where Burns spent some of his early years. Cut to coastal footage including the local harbour, 3 miles away. Close up of an old man with a white beard, possibly a sailor. Cut to castle and rocky inlet by the sea. Excellent shot of castles, the first taken from the shore with the tide out, the second of a deserted ruin through a small forest of trees. Further shots of ruined abbeys and castles. Farmhouses in long shot and close up of man painting his house as chickens and a young puppy meander in the foreground. Wheat is harvested by traditional means of man and horse. A woman makes a traditional bundle of wheat by wrapping up the wheat. Cut to very early horse drawn, mechanised harvesting machine. A group of young men and women work in the field to tie up the barley or wheat. At the end of the day they leave the field. This sequence places the work of Robert Burns very much in its social context. Indeed his work as a poet clearly reflects themes and ideas that were inspires by the countryside we see in this film. Cut to medium shot of Tarpailton. In winter the famous Bachelor's Club (The Society of Fellow Bachelors) met to discuss the topics of the day or according to the Soundtrack the intricacies of the dance. Young couples jumping on to the rear of an old Routemaster bus Reg: GC3 221 on route to Ayr to go dancing. At Mossgale after the death of his father, Burns started as a farmer for himself. Cut to shots of the farmhouse buildings and surrounding farm land where Burns wrote many of his famous poems and songs. Ayrshire cattle walking past camera, and being milked by automatic machines. Farmers with mechanised farming equipment. A collie dog is sleeping. A man ploughs a field by hand with his horse. Various shots of wooded glades and rivers. Bluebells and other assorted wild flowers, trees and foliage resplendent in full colour. The woods and valleys that make up this part of the world are juxtaposed with twilight. Shots of the rivers flowing by. Medium shot of Mauchlin, and horse in Mauchlin where Burns brought his bride Jean Armour. Exterior of church with congregation entering for Sunday service. Church cemetery which holds many of the women and men made famous by Burns' writing, including Gavin Hamilton, William Fisher and Preecy Nincy in whose Inn across the road Burns met the Jolly Beggars. Old fashioned truck or van Reg : MYR 327 with advertising slogan for Omo passes by out of shot. An old truck moves through the village carrying a load of milk or cream urns. Factory which manufactures curling stones. Steam train in the foreground going through Kilmarnock where the first edition of his poems was printed. Cut to the printing shop. Excellent footage of1950s traffic - reduces at Kilmarnock Cross. Good footage of quayside at Irvine, with cargo being loaded onto small ship. Orangefield House, home to one of Burns' closest friends is now part of Prestwick airport . Good shot of the airport in early days with passengers and crew departing from a BOAC plane. City centre of Ayr with medium shot of town O'Shunters Inn, now a museum, and the old Bing ( bridge over the river), Ayr train station and quayside busy with holiday makers. Beach and golfing facilities are great attractive hotels, stately homes. After living in Edinburgh, Burns returned to Ellisland with his wife and child. Close up of 1950s family reading letters. Old fashioned pram. Fox hunt, with men on horseback riding up hills from the annual good neighbours festival cattle sales at Dumfries, a market town. Good shots of farmers in 1950s dress (most wearing hats) and exterior of the Globe Inn in a small alleyway and interior with landlady selling drinks and customers drinking. At Dumfries, Burns struggled against heart disease. Interior of kitchen with table laid with mugs and plates of soup. The father and children gather around the table as the mother serves the soup. They all pray. The twilight sun falls on the Solway. Twilight shot of the churchyard at Dumfries. Statue memorial and gravestone of Burns. Panning shot of graveyard, rousing end with rendition of Auld Lang Syne by the Saltire Singers juxtaposed with brief shots of the city centres of Irvine. Ayr, Dumfries and London as well as statues in New Zealand and Canada.

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