5 user 1 critic

The Girl of the Canal (1945)

Painted Boats (original title)
Approved | | Drama | 6 October 1947 (USA)
Drama following the lives of two families living on the colourfully painted canal boats of Britain.



(written for the screen by), (commentary by) (as Louis Macneice) | 1 more credit »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An escaped convict tries to hide out at his former lover's house but she has since married and is far from keen on the idea.

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: Googie Withers, Jack Warner, John McCallum
The Blue Lamp (1950)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The daily routine of two London policemen is interrupted by a killer.

Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Jack Warner, Dirk Bogarde, Jimmy Hanley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A train disaster is told as four short stories to give character studies of the people involved, how it will affect them and how they deal with it.

Directors: Sidney Cole, Charles Crichton, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jack Warner, Gladys Henson, Susan Shaw
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Communist agents trail an important scientist to try to steal his top-secret new formula.

Director: Lance Comfort
Stars: Derek Farr, Ella Raines, Donald Wolfit
Dance Hall (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Episodic tale of four factory girls and their various romances at the local dance hall.

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Natasha Parry, Jane Hylton, Diana Dors
Cage of Gold (1950)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young bride believes her husband has been killed. After a suitable period of mourning, she re-marries. But then her "dead" husband comes back and tries to extort money from her.

Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Jean Simmons, David Farrar, James Donald
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A criminal gang sets out to pull off the heist of a large army payroll.

Director: Cliff Owen
Stars: Stanley Baker, Helmut Schmid, Tom Bell
Blackout (1950)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A man suffering from temporary blindness accidentally walks into a house where a murder has just occurred. The killers, realizing he's blind, decide not to kill him but just knock him out ... See full summary »

Director: Robert S. Baker
Stars: Maxwell Reed, Dinah Sheridan, Patric Doonan
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The efforts of test pilot John Mitchell to make a better life for his wife Mary and their two children seem doomed to failure and he blames himself. At the Conway Aero-Manufacturing Company... See full summary »

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Jack Hawkins, Elizabeth Sellars, Jeremy Bodkin
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A British petty criminal lies to his son about his frequent prison terms by inventing honorable plausible explanations for his absences from home but things get complicated when his son becomes a judge's assistant.

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Robert Morley, Ronald Squire
Boys in Brown (1949)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A slice of life in a British Borstal reform institution for young criminals.

Director: Montgomery Tully
Stars: Jack Warner, Richard Attenborough, Dirk Bogarde
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Because of its high productivity and "almost" 100 per cent employment, the village of Little Heyhoe, England is expecting a visit from the Prime Minister. The "almost" is because of Dan ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Eddie Byrne, Jane Barrett, Robert Brown


Complete credited cast:
Jenny Laird ...
Mary Smith
Bill Blewitt ...
Her Father
May Hallatt ...
Her Mother
Robert Griffiths ...
Ted Stoner (as Robert Griffith)
Madoline Thomas ...
His Mother
Grace Arnold ...
His Sister
Harry Fowler ...
His Brother Alf
Megs Jenkins ...
John Owers ...
James McKechnie ...


Drama following the lives of two families living on the colourfully painted canal boats of Britain.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

canal | ealing | See All (2) »


A new screen star in a romance of the canals




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 October 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Girl of the Canal  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film's premiere in USA occurred Saturday 12 January 1946 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: During the making of this picture we received generous help from canal workers of every kind. We wish to thank them warmly. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Historically important view of a way of life now long gone
21 June 2015 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

There isn't much of a plot to this slightly unusual but fascinating and quite well made film that is part documentary and part soap opera. However that isn't really the point here as the film has far more worth as a snapshot of life for those families who worked and lived on the British canals in the 1940s.

Whilst the film used (mostly) professional actors, the backdrop was real and utilised lots of location filming . As I said there isn't much of a story beyond the lives of a family who live and work on a canal barge and the world they live in. The story concerns the character Mary (Jenny Laird) and her love of life working the canals as generations before her have done. She is engaged to fellow bargee Ted Stoner who dreams of putting down roots and living in a house (unlike Mary). He hopes the army will call him up and offer him a way out and a trade even though he is is supposedly exempted from the draft as well as being illiterate. His younger brother Alf (Harry Fowler) finds life on the canal exciting yet his fractured education and that of others who live like him is also very prominently addressed.

Although there is a certain amount of a 'rose tinted' view of the lives of these gypsies of the river, the film doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of their life either, especially the scene where a contract is signed but the women in the scene cannot write their name so just sign it with an 'X'.

This film works as a glimpse of a way of life that existed for the best part of 200 years. However even in 1945 the film makers could see that the writing was on the wall for the bargee way of life. The importance of the railway network and the improvement of the roads and the rise of the HGV are all addressed. The second world war was probably the last hurrah for the canal network and those who worked on it for industrial reasons. In fact the war itself may very well have prolonged its importance and therefore its existence for a few extra years as trains were needed for things like troop transport and petrol was in short supply for road vehicles because of the war effort. However by the 1950s the wide scale commercial use of lorries, the nationalisation of the railways and the post war social changes in areas such as improved housing, education and healthcare all but effectively sounded the death knell for this way of life and by the end of the 1960s the canals were of little commercial importance anymore . In this respect the film offers us an invaluable look into the final few years of life on the canals and the people who worked them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Girl of the Canal (1945) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: