This film is part of Free

Mining Review 23rd Year No. 6

Ace edition of the series with wintry-but-warm vignettes of coal community life in South Hetton, Woolley Colliery and Caldey Island.

Cinemagazine 1970 11 mins


Monks, majorettes - and miners - populate this ace edition of the long-running series. Released in February but shot in December, it has a wintry yet wonderfully warm atmosphere: we challenge you to watch without smiling. All four stories are winners but 'Drum Major' stands out, its baton-twirling moves captured with care, wit, even bravura: look out for a jaw-dropping match cut (perhaps inspired by Stanley Kubrick's 1968 epic 2001: A Space Odyssey...?).

The first story's nuts-and-bolts subject (safety studs on miners' boots) is enlivened by similarly playful, propulsive filmmaking; the second item (coal deliveries to the Trappist monks of Caldey Island, Pembrokeshire) is gently lyrical; and the final piece (a high-productivity good-news story from Woolley Colliery) is punchy and confident. Each item will have been filmed by a different director-cameraman team, and while this was always the case with Mining Review, in the 1960s the editorial team was more relaxed about allowing a subtle variation of style from one item to another to be evident. Here the result is a highly watchable, occasionally lovely suite of good-natured vignettes of coal industry life.