I love keeping this blog – sometimes, it’s hard work, and sometimes it gets on top of me, but then something will turn up that makes it all worthwhile, and that’s why it’s so very enjoyable.
Such an event has just occurred – a history thread that started here with the 1934/5 Brownhills Carnival film, and has progressed incrementally through small jumps, called at more film in the form of the curious Hope Springs Eternal recording, then expanded suddenly with the recent contributions of Margaret Thompson.
The link through all these things is the film-maker Edgar Pritchard, brother of Syd, immortalised in Bill Mayo’s recent book. Edgar was a talented cameraman, and today I can share a 1952 film with you called ‘The Poacher’s Apprentice’.
I know very little about the 20 minute silent story, which was found by Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler in the University of East Anglia Film Archive; but it’s beautiful for a number of reasons – not least because it was filmed in and around the village of Hints, near Tamworth.
To those who know the area, lots of familiar places crop up in this remarkable cinefilm; the Church, ford, Rookery Wood, the old Schoolhouse. It’s also a portrait of a lost age; the last gasp of rural Staffordshire life before everything changed. In not many films do ferrets get a starring role.
I was amused to note the artistic licence with the ‘school bell’ – that’s actually on the Church. Little things like that make it for me.
The child actors in this film may well still be around. Can they be named? Can we contact them?
The archive only says the following:
Amateur; Natural History
A young boy befriends a poacher and they go ferreting by night. Includes shots of hand scything and a village school.
The boy is seen reading `The Poacher’s Handbook’ by Ian Niall. This was first published in 1950.
Distributor: Institute of Amateur Cinematographers
There is much to write about this work, but I won’t waffle on just yet. Wallow in it. Get a cuppa or crack a beer, sit down and absorb it.
I added the music to make it flow – if it annoys you, turn it down. I have so much more to say on this in the next week or so. But for now, just watch.
Thanks to Peter, David Evans and particularly Margaret without whom none of this would have been possible. Thanks, all.
Comments please – or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.