Vast Mills, Humble Streets, Lancashire at work and play at Blackpool. Modern feminine independence in sex affairs, expressing itself powerfully and brilliantly. (Print Ad-Sunday Mail, ((Brisbane, Queensland)) 25 March 1934) See more »
"Hindle Wakes" derives its title from a very ancient Anglo-Saxon custom. Nowadays these old festivals take the form of fairs, surviving mostly in Lancashire. (Otago Daily Times, ((Otago, NZ)) 24 January 1934) See more »
The opening credits appear as if woven on a loom. See more »
Does the Sound of Clogs on Cobbles Mean Anything to You?
The first sound version of HINDLE WAKES is more concerned with the issues of the play than the famous visual extravaganza that the 1927 silent version directed by Maurice Elvey was. Nonetheless, it is carefully and beautifully shot by Mutz Greenbaum, with much side-lighting to make it all look modern and dramatic, and the credits are offered as woven on a loom. There are many wild shots to permit a moving camera, and a rapid pace of cutting when people are speaking to each other. Nor, despite the fact that the sound on the copy I viewed was not very good, was the foley work neglected. All in all, it was a topnotch effort from Victor Saville (who has sometimes been credited with the flair for Elvey's silent version; Saville was credited as a writer), even if the ending has been changed to soften the consequences for the parties involved.
I have seen four or five versions of this play, and find this one strangely unfocused. Norman McKinnel's Nat Jefcote is rote, rather than moral, and John Stuart's Alan Jefcote... well, he's just an ass. Belle Chrystall, as the center of this storm, is fine, but it's never clear that, despite her big speech at the end, she's just a woman who has played her hand as well as she could, seen she is going to lose, and dropped out before she lost even more. Her willingness to get on with her life may be sensible, but compared with other versions of this story about how changing times and the rising ability of women to support themselves by their own efforts may change their choices, does it make it admirable?
In the end, this story remains a drama of its own time and place, shocking and, indeed important for that moment. I have my doubts about its universality. Neither does this version help sustain it.
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