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Summary: Mute unedited rushes for a cancelled film project by the Royal Air Force Film Production Unit, showing industrial works (probably a coal gas works) in an unidentified part of the UK.
Description: Reel 1: High shots at a factory, with a chimney in foreground and railway tracks and wagons below. Ground level shot tracks and a man in high boots walking through midground. Wide shot with girder structures, distribution pipes, tall storage towers with two small figures walking across shot. Two men painting (?) two large circular metal fittings, with a crane cutting across shot foreground. Two men in working clothes, backs to camera, looking out at the factory site. Faintly vertigo-inducing shot looking down a tall chimney to tracks below. Against a background of strikingly geometric metal structures a worker climbs a staircase which extends diagonally across one corner of shot; the camera tilts to follow him as the staircase continues overhead. Shot looking through a cluttered foreground at two men turning a handle together in the midground; the camera rises vertically up an open-sided lift shaft and as it rises more of the factory site comes into view. Repeated rising lift shot, this time with a man walking across a low-level catwalk, and again with more men at ground level before stopping at a lower position (with better view). Shot with steam rising and the lift descending. Second take from descending lift. Stationary shot, looking up through girders etc, as a man climbs down a ladder and walks away from camera which tilts and pans to follow. Shot of winding gear in operation; tilt down to wagons of coal in close-up.
Reel 2: Shot of motionless winding gear tower framed by a brick arch in the foreground. Pan and tilt of empty coal wagons and up to winding gear. Second and third takes. Several takes; tilt from (disused equipment?) up to static winding gear with tilts back in the opposite direction. Looking up at winding gear in operation with men climbing a ladder up the tower; tilt down to full coal wagons (repeated takes). Static shot; metal wreckage. Close-up with pan.
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 1362 ft; Running time: 16 mins
Notes: Almost no documentation survives for this film, with most of the details in this catalogue entry being taken from slates seen in the film itself. It would seem likely that this film was shot for some sort of production anticipating peace, but how the film might have been used or presented is unclear. Even so, some extremely striking visuals are captured, with some very strong geometric compositions that illustrate an industrial Britain of a kind that no longer exists.