This film is part of Free

I Saw This, November 1940

An enigmatic pot-pourri of a film of a village in wartime. Although life appears here as normal, an inauspicious motif seems to lurk within the avant-garde cinematic style.

Home movie 1940 17 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Local born amateur filmmaker Kenneth Raynor has made a rather beautiful and unusual film of his home village of Swallownest. Part of its intrigue is that it covers a period during the Blitz, from November 1940, without there being any hint of a war, although just a few miles east of the bomb-targeted steel and engineering industry of Sheffield and Rotherham. Of equal interest are the highly unconventional shooting angles, reminiscent of the montage methods of Eisenstein.

This is one of about 18 films made between 1940 and 1947 by Raynor (formerly ‘Rayner’). His father Gerald was the caretaker of the local school where his mother, Maud, was a cleaner. Kenneth trained as a chemist and was employed in a steelworks in Sheffield during the war, being registered as a conscientious objector. As might be suspected from the beautiful shots in this film, Kenneth was a nature lover and also a photographer, taking portraits and wedding photos, always using the best equipment he could buy. It is revealing to note that on his death Raynor left several films made by the influential Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy, including Marseille Vieux Port from 1929 and Urban Gypsies from 1932.