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Painted Boats [DVD]


Price: £9.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Painted Boats [DVD] + The Bargee [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Jenny Laird, Bill Blewett, Robert Griffith, May Hallatt
  • Directors: Charles Crichton
  • Producers: Michael Balcon
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TJKW5O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,849 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

For generations the Stoner and Smith families have lived and worked on the canals. But now this idyllic way of life is threatened - the younger generation long to break away and discover life outside the barges. Ted Stoner (Robert Griffith) dreams of living in a big town but his girlfriend, Mary Smith (Jenny Laird), is more of a traditionalist - will their very different dreams tear them apart?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Steve TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In many ways this is a strange film. Part documentary, part light romance, part propaganda. It is also quite possibly the most beautiful depiction of English canals on film you will ever see.

Filmed in 1945, with Britain still at war, it is ostensibly the story of the lives of two families who work and live on cargo-carrying canal boats. The young woman on one of the boats is attracted to the young man working the other boat. We follow their romance. We also follow many aspects of life on the boats, which then had barely changed since the canals were built. The boats are shown with their tiny living spaces, their traditional flower and castle decorations, moving gracefully along the cut at barely walking pace; one of the boats is still horse drawn, the other motorised. But also shown is the realism of the sheer hard graft of working the boats. For example, there is a fascinating depiction of a boat being 'walked' through a long canal tunnel; the horse being taken across the hill over the tunnel whilst the remaining crew lie on boards across the boat and propel it by literally walking along the tunnel walls. From time to time there are shots of the industry the canals were supplying; the characteristic bottle kilns of the Potteries; a huge steelworks with the canal passing right through the middle (Shelton Bar?); the famous Anderton Boat Lift connecting the Trent and Mersey canal down to the River Weaver.

There is a strong documentary feel in places; from time to time a narrator comments on what we are seeing, and there is even a short section where we are given in effect an illustrated history lesson. And there is very much the feel of everyone pulling together, all classes, men and women, for the war effort.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. Sinclair on 6 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is an important capture of the last years of the canal system when it was working to help the nation recover from the wartime deprivation.All students of canal history should watch this.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. C. on 1 April 2011
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This film was, ooh not a modern word I know, enchanting! While there is a drama plot and actors, it was filmed with the real riverboat community themselves. A lot of archive film is spliced in and I was initially bemused, 'is this a documentary or ...'
but quite quickly I was lost in the historical archive clips of places and crafts and skills long gone and disappeared - a whole culture lost to us, one of many.

So unaffected and simply made and one can learn an awful lot about the daily grind of the Painted Boat communities and the harsh lives they lived, even for the time. It is apparent from the sentiments of the Painted Boat community and the plot of the simple drama, that the harshness was a price worth their freedom.

A wonderful social record of the voices and the world of a lost part of our heritage. It is as I said, enchanting.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Green Knight on 13 July 2011
Format: DVD
This film fascinates.

It's a priceless and compassionate record of a vanished way of life, and to anyone remotely interested in social history and the history of Britain's rural and industrial landscape, it must rank pretty high in the list of must-haves.

There's a story, to make the thing hang together, but it's not really necessary as the gentle rhythm of canal life has its own narrative.

Director Charles Crichton, so famous for comedies such as 'The Lavender Hill Mob' - and latterly 'A Fish Called Wanda' - has done his subject proud.

Douglas Slocombe's beautiful photography (and yes, black and white is every bit as beautiful as colour in the right hands) creates some stunning images of water, bridge, factory and lock gate, and the whole thing has a quiet but determined pace towards an ending that comes all too soon.

Recommended - very highly - as a testament to Englishness and an industry now all but lost. If there is one minor quibble it's that the film is very short. A double bill on the dvd might have been nice to make it better value. There are enough excellent period documentaries to choose from.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Elizabeth M. Goulder on 27 July 2010
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An odd mixture of documentary and drama. It works well as a social documentary of the life and times it portrays but I was left a little sad at the end as I felt I wanted more of the people. Interesting, though, as a record of the times.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. Murgatroyd on 27 May 2010
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I came across this on Amazon after choosing "The Bargee", and it looked interesting. Hard to decide whether it should be classified as a documentary or a feature film, but like The Bargee it provides a snapshot record of the British canal system, this time at the end of WW2. Just two minor niggles - first it was only just over an hour long (I would loved it to be longer), and second,, in spite of the "Painted" in the title it was in black and white. I blame the war!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on 12 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A wonderful film for canal boat enthusiasts and those who love old films. It is fascinating to see how the cut has changed and even if you are not a canal boat fan it is still a wonderful film. Can not praise it enough.
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"Painted Boats" is a short docudrama created by Ealing Studios in the last days of the Second World War. The film follows a loose narrative fitted around a history of the British canal network and its importance to British industry in the 20th century.

The film tells the tale of two families working on the Grand Union Canal - the Smiths, who operate a horse-drawn canal boat, and the Stoners, who operate a motor-powered boat and its unpowered "butty boat". Mary Smith hopes to marry Ted Stoner and operate a boat with him on the canal, but is unsure whether this will come true, as Ted hopes to get off the canals and join the army rather than stick to the canal traditions that Mary adores. Interwoven with this are short narratives about the origin of the canal network, the construction of canal tunnels and the difficulty of using them prior to the invention of the motor engine, and how the canals suffered with the onset of the railways.

Filmed at a time when the canals were still playing an important role in British transport, "Painted Boats" paints a beautiful portrait of a way of life that has now disappeared. It also displays the changing face of the canal network, when the last of the horse-drawn boats were being phased out in favour of motor-powered boats. Though the running time seems short by today's standards, "Painted Boats" still remains a wonderful film which serves as a beautifully-made tribute to the canal workers of Great Britain.
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