This film is part of Free

"Men Against Death" - a story of peril in our time

Men at work – “poised between heaven and earth” - in Dorothea Quarry near Tal-y-sarn in the Nantlle Valley, taking part in a drama-documentary based on a 19th Century rock fall.

Drama-documentary 1933 6 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


C H Dand, a publicist and scenario writer, here turned his hand to film- making and produced what is believed to be the first sound film made and set in Wales. He used Dorothea Quarry, Tal-y-sarn and the men employed there to enact a dramatic story, the (lost) second reel of which would show a rock taking its revenge on the men for blasting away its supporting slate by collapsing. The quarry’s assistant manager makes a daily risk assessment of the “angry rock”.

Dand’s film shows the scale of Dorothea Quarry in the Nantlle Valley, possibly the deepest man-made pit in the northern hemisphere, the equipment used and the dangerous nature of the work. The film was premiered at the newly opened Plaza Cinema in Pen-y-groes, its audience the very quarrymen who had taken part in the drama, together with their co-workers and families.