• Short Summary

    Brilliant film about teaching foreign students (and yokels) to speak the "King's English" - superb! c. 1931

  • Description

    Reel 2. Large roll of paper is pushed into place on a printing press. Men perform various tasks as they work together to print the newspaper. C/U of the finished newspapers coming off the press. C/U of bundles of papers leaving the printers. As the bundles come off a conveyor belt we can read their labels: Ipswich, Plymouth, Llanfairfechan, Halifax, Burnley and Glasgow. The labels are for the Daily News, Daily Mail and Allied Newspapers Ltd. Men load bundles into a lorry, driver climbs in. Moving shot from the lorry of London streets. Horse drawn vehicle passes in front. Evening Standard delivery truck is seen. M/S of the bundles being loaded from various trucks onto trains. Various shots of porters loading the papers. A sign is affixed to the side of a train reading: "Plymouth." Station master blows a whistle. C/U of side of a train labelled Halifax. C/U of railway signals. C/U of train labelled Burnley. L/S of men working on the railway tracks. Foreman blows a whistle to let them know a train is approaching. Low angle shot of a train which approaches then passes over the camera. C/U of train labelled Ipswich. M/S of a signals box at Arlesey. Man can be seen inside turning a large wheel. M/S of level crossing gates closing. Train passes by. C/U of Glasgow label on side of train. Then C/U of bundle of newspapers bearing Glasgow label.
    01:15:20 High angle shot of the roofs of Glasgow - lots of smoke coming from chimneys. Large boat entering the docks. Man at work on an industrial kiln or furnace(?) hears a whistle going off and takes down his newspaper and sandwiches from a shelf. He sits down for his break. C/U of his face then of the newspaper: "Listen, Bluebird beats world record, Malcolm Campbell does it again." Suddenly a very grubby face appears from one of the openings in the kiln/furnace (quite a funny sight), leans out and says, "Bluebird beats the world record, man that's fine!" in broad Scottish accent. C/U of the package labelled for Llanfairfechan. L/S of a landscape. A young man walks towards a cottage wall and gives Mrs Jones her newspaper and other things (can't understand his accent!) Mrs Jones read the headline about Bluebird in a strong Welsh accent. C/U of the package labelled for Plymouth. M/S of the harbour. Two fishermen look at the newspaper and one reads the other the headline in a faltering Plymouth accent. C/U of the package bound for Ipswich. M/S of a farmer riding a tractor.

    01:17:16 C/U of the label for Sheffield. Low angle of a pit head. Two miners bump into one another "Oh it's thee is it?" says one. They wear flat caps and have dirty shirts with the sleeves rolled up. One asks the other if he's looking at the paper to if he's one the Irish sweep. The other reads the headlines as his friend moves closer and puts his arm around his shoulder. "Ee by gum lad, that's champion!" is his exuberant reaction to the news. L/S of Trafalgar Square, pan down from Nelson's Column to show bus traffic. L/S of Soho Square - Italian restaurant called Bellometti is on the corner. Man stands on a street corner selling papers. A small man wearing a waistcoat is trying to read the paper without buying one which he manages to do when someone asks a man who has bought one the time and he looks at his watch. He yells: "Mamma listen, Bluebird beats vorld record, Malcolm Campbells does it again!" Our French friend from the beginning of the film buys a paper from the newspaper vendor and says: "It is magnificent zat Sir Malcolm Campbell has broken ze world record again" very fast with a strong French accent. Newspaper man says: "Ay?" Frenchie repeats it and is met by "What?" this time. "Zat is good" he says and points to the headline. Newspaper man finally understands. "Oh that Campbell, yes. Why didn't you say so?"

    01:18:30 Interior of the English pronunciation expert. He goes and turns off his radio as the shipping forecast begins. The door bell rings and our French friend is let in. He rushes in saying: "Mon Dieu, Mon Dieu" - he is upset that the newspaper man didn't understand him. The professor sits him down and gives him a lesson in how to speak English the correct way. The lower jaw has to be moved differently if Frenchie is to get hold of English rhythm. The professor sits at his desk and uses a pen and paper to show the difference in rhythm between French and English. The phrase used is: "This is the house that Jack built." The Frenchman is told that French rhythm is: "like a machine gun." English rhythm is made up of dots and dashes like Morse Code. Frenchie is tutored, he rushes out of the house when he feels he has the hang of it, running out onto the street and leaving his teacher looking puzzled.

    01:21:44 The newspaperman is lighting a cigarette with his head turned away from the Frenchman when he comes up behind him and says: "It is magnificent that Sir Malcolm Campbell has broken the world record again." The newspaperman says: "Just fine" then looks surprised when he sees who has spoken. C/U of him taking off his cap and scratching his head.

    Direction: Mary Field. Photography: Jack Parker. Recorded by: A.F. Birch on Klangfilm. The Frenchman: E.M. Stephan. The Englishman - A. Lloyd James.

    Note: "This is the house that Jack built" has become a favourite catch phrase amongst Pathe staff, especially as another film "48 Paddington Street" features the same teacher of English, the same phrase for repetition and the same pompous attitude from the hoity toity Englishman! It is possible that the newspaper vendor is also the same actor in both films as the device of a foreigner being misunderstood by this character occurs in both films. The Professor: A. Lloyd James was credited as being the Secretary to the BBC Committee on Spoken English in 48 Paddington Street.

    Print is scratched. Check neg.

    For search purposes - BBC British Broadcasting Corporation B.B.C.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:12:42:00 / 01:22:36:00

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment