• Short Summary

    Film tracing the history of cigarettes and their production for Rothmans. C. 1964

  • Description

    01:32:53 Promotional film made for the Rothmans cigarette company detailing the history of tobacco and the production of cigarettes. "Carreras -Rothmans presents." Street scenes in Basildon "new town" with a narration praising its modern housing and facilities. Women in head scarves push prams through the shopping centre, a young mother and her child look at a modern fountain, shots of modern architecture, children running out of a school building, "Spaciousness is part of this concept of modern living which has given hope and happiness to people sick of overcrowding in the big cities." Children play on a school playing field, and in a paved area in front of some new houses. Funky Hammond Organ type music plays in the background. L/S of the Rothman's factory. High angle shot of the canteen - lots of women in white coats sit down for their lunch. M/S of a row of women getting food from the counter. C/U of women chatting over their lunch. The camera moves to another table where a man is lighting a cigarette. Voiceover states: "In such surroundings with such a product as the modern cigarette it is hard to think of tobacco as having any real history..." The narrator then begins to tell us the story of tobacco.

    01:34:22 Various shots of the swamp lands around the James River in Virginia. Jamestown. As the narrator speaks of the discovery of tobacco we see men in Elizabethan military uniform marching past, a "red Indian" picking tobacco leaves, an old fashioned horse and cart, various colonial type buildings. Williamsburg - the inn named after Sir Walter Raleigh, quiet streets, Potomak (?) river. Mount Vernon - George Washington's plantation. A woman in a large crinoline walks through the grounds.

    01:36:10 Shots of modern tobacco production in Virginia, views of fields, irrigation, C/U of leaves, two men checking their crop, farm hands picking the crop. Young girl (10 or 11) sits on a tractor and smiles - C/U. The crop is transported by tractor to a place where the leaves are prepared for drying. Top shot of group of workers, mostly African American women and children, sorting the leaves and attaching them to poles. Inside the drying room the leaves are hung up and small fires or heaters are lit to start the drying process.
    01:38:12 Continued. Pan up to the golden leaves hanging from the rafters. The young girl helps to untie the leaves from the sticks and other workers make the leaves up into small bundles. Cut to an auction where the tobacco is up for sale. The auctioneer does a fast spiel as he walks along. C/U of men inspecting the leaves. One of the men lifts a bundle and smells it. Groups of men walk along looking at the leaves as another auctioneer speaks really quickly and the men shout out how much they want to pay. It's a bit manic.

    01:40:05 Various shots the tobacco being packed in vats - "Hogheads" (?). Exterior shot of barrels of baccie being transported by lorry to the processing plant. Barrels are moved by fork lift truck. It is the HM Customs & Excise Bonded Warehouse. C/U of a cheque which has been written out for the customs duty. The sides are taken off the barrels and the tobacco is moved around the warehouse. The narrator takes us through all the processes involved in blending the tobaccos. Shots of the machinery, the workers, conveyor belts, air driven drying machines, trimmed tobacco, cutting machines, etc. "From rag to richness, a free flowing river of gold." This montage of production footage is accompanied by a funky Samba style soundtrack. A quality controller takes a sample for testing.

    01:45:00 Sequence showing the making of the cigarette filters. C/Us of the women working on the production line, conveyor belts of filters, fibre ribbon, quality control inspector, etc. Machine which makes the cigarettes is shown: this part of the process is completely automated. "Automatic to the point that it only needs to be set in motion. The machine has care built in. Its built in disapproval of imperfection means that any cigarette with the slightest fault is immediately rejected." C/Us of various machinery. Cigarettes are tested in the laboratory. Moisture levels are checked. Quality inspectors turn dials and look at instrument panels- all very space age. Several women work in the laboratory - lots of bubbling liquid and coils of wire.

    01:47:59 Woman puts cigarettes into a "machine that smokes" and watches the smoke emerge from the cigarettes stuck in the machine. Men use a centrifugal force machine, microscopes, measuring graphs etc.

    01:49:20 High angle shot of the factory floor and various C/Us of the workers, machines and cigarettes. C/U of packets of "Piccadilly" cigarettes coming off the machine. C/Us of "Guards" brand. Glamorous quality control woman opens a packet to check it. "Lets sell tobacco!" proclaims the narrator. Montage of machine, production, workers set to groovy music. Boxes are moved around the packing department. Boxes are packed with "Consulate", "Peter Stuyvesant", "Rothman's King Size", "Piccadilly", "Guards". L/S of the delivery vans driving past the camera.

    01:52:32 Night in Basildon "a new town at rest." The Carreras Rothman's factory at night - lights are on. Doorman comes out of the building and stands to attention.

    01:53:13 Credits: Director of Photography - Reginald Cavender. Film Editor - Ronald Glenister. Sound Supervisor - George Newberry. Sound Editor - Roger Voss. Written by - Roger Dunton. Associate Producer - Lionel Hoare. Directed by - Eric Fullilove. Produced by Terry Ashwood.

    Note: excellent factory production scenes, great music. Two prints exist.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:32:53:00 / 01:53:48:00

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