Every Valley (1957)
20 minutes

An impression, from daybreak to midnight, of the life of the industrial valleys of South Wales centred on Pontypridd and of the growing part played in that life by bus and railway. The free verse spoken by Donald Houston acts as a link on the sound-track between various arias, choruses and orchestral interludes from Handel's Messiah sung by the Pontarddulais Choir that utter their own comment, lyrical, ironic or humorous, upon the pictures of Welsh life and landscape that they accompany.

Director: Michael Clarke
Photography: James Ritchie
Commentary: Norman Prouting
Narration: Donald Houston
Editor: John Trumper
Producer: Edgar Anstey

16mm & 35mm

A still from the 1960 BTF Catalogue.

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - January 1958 (spotted by Robin Carmody)

This is an attempt to show the effect of modern means of transport on a small Welsh valley community, once entirely occupied by mining, now given the opportunity of varied occupations and studies in the nearby town. The message is never pressed hard, rather implied by the intelligent and sympathetic assembly of pictures of people about their daily business and recreation, by the modest, well-written, well-read commentary and by the alternately witty and touching juxtaposition of choruses from Handel's 'Messiah', performed by the local choral society. (The sequence in which people busy themselves with their evening pastimes - sewing circles, night schools and billiards - while the choir sings "We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray" is especially charming). The opening, with shots of the old mining village and its rows of houses, and of disused machinery lying in the valley is remarkably evocative.

This is apparently one of British Transport Films' more modest productions. Nevertheless it represents a very interesting departure from their more familiar type of production.

Actual screen shots reproduced by kind permission
of the British Film Institute.

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