"Today, Painted Boats, 1945, would be called a docudrama. A modest Ealing masterpiece, this film, following the lives of the Smith and Stoner families afloat, is as important in its own way as better -known documentaries such as Flaherty's Man of Aran. It is a short film with slight narrative elements but it is also fascinating as a faithful account of change on the canals.
It is set late in the second world war. Traditional horse-drawn barging is being overtaken by motor-powered narrow boats, and the bargees are doubtful about their future place in the world.
-This film is mainly a romance but is also a Documentary. Showing life on "the Cut" when the canals where a part of the British transport scene.
The story follows the lives (and loves) of two families. The "Traditional" Smith's (Father, Mother & Mary Smith) in the Horse Drawn Barge "Sunny Valley" (which is converted to a motor barge in the film) and the "Modern" Stoner's (Mother, Ted Stoner & his younger brother Alf) in the motor barge "Golden Boy" & butty (an unpowered barge) "Blackbird".
Although released in 1945 it was filmed during the later part of the second world war the couple Mary Smith & Ted Stoner never get to marry (not in this film anyway) as Ted is "Called-Up" and joins the Army (The Royal Engineers).
The end of the film sees "Sunny Valley" emerging onto the River Thames at Limehouse, East London.
Writers:Stephen Black, Louis MacNeice,
Jenny Laird ... Mary Smith
Robert Griffiths ... Ted Stoner
Bill Blewitt ... Pa Smith
May Hallatt ... Ma Smith
Madoline Thomas ... Mrs Stoner
Grace Arnold ... His sister
Harry Fowler ... Alf Stoner
Megs Jenkins ... Barmaid
James McKechnie ... Narrator
Release Date:6 October 1947 (USA)
Color:Black and White