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Davey Fenwick leaves his mining village on a university scholarship intent on returning to better support the miners against the owners. But he falls in love with Jenny who gets him to marry her and return home as local schoolteacher before finishing his degree. Davey finds he is ill-at-ease in his role, the more so when he realises Jenny still loves her former boyfriend. When he finds that his father and the other miners are going to have to continue working on a possibly deadly coal seam he decides to act. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Well, Fenwick, will the men work tomorrow?
Not if its to be in Scupper Flats, Mr. Barras.
[indicating a well-dressed union official]
Even against your union?
The union isn't being asked to work in Scupper Flats. On the other side of that coal seam is a million tons of flood water ready to rush right down on top of us.
You don't think I'd take a chance in floodin' me own mine, do you, Fenwick?
Well, show us the plans of them old workings, then!
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The story in this feature is pretty interesting, but even a description of the story by itself would probably not communicate how thoughtful and atmospheric the movie is. It also has some particularly compelling stretches that are hard to forget afterward. Director Carol Reed shows good insight into the characters and the story, the cast make the characters believable and worth caring about, and the technical aspects help you to feel almost part of the action.
Michael Redgrave stars as a young idealist, determined to get an education so that he can improve conditions in the mining town where he lives. Redgrave's performance quietly brings out a lot about his character, as he learns about reality while fighting for the truth. Emlyn Williams is also effective as Redgrave's boyhood friend, who takes an entirely different, amoral approach to the same situation. Margaret Lockwood, well-cast as the rather vain young woman who captivates both of them, adds an important dimension. Several of the supporting cast members also do a good job in limited screen time.
The highlight is the extended rescue sequence in the second half, and it is very effectively done. But one of the reasons that it works so well is that it was prepared by such a solid foundation, establishing the characters and issues carefully so that, when the crisis hits, everything takes on more meaning.
Many of the topics touched upon by the movie are still of significance in themselves, but even beyond that, it creates a good deal of worthwhile drama about society and human nature in general.
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