- 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: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B001TJKW5O
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,464 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Painted Boats [DVD]
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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?
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We had a canal boat so took us back watching this, was very funny at times and very interesting to watch.Published 23 days ago by benrosethebrave
A splendid DVD, part documentary showing a way of life that has now gone.Published 2 months ago by Arthur W Cundey
A good "docu-soap" giving a flavour of the time.
A few continuity errors but doesn't spoil the film
Great DVD Love the old style movies in black and white. D.T.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
An outstanding docudrama. I watched it four times over the first two days that I received it. Highly recommended.Published 11 months ago by Satisfied Customer