February 24, 2017


Painted Boats – 1945 | 83 mins | Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

Painted Boats

Painted Boats had been in production during the summer of 1944, yet did not get shown to the public until after the war had ended in the following year. It was set on the Midland canals and told the story of two families, the Smiths and the Stoners, who ply their narrow boats on the waterway. The Stoners are the progressives, with a motor, whereas the Smiths rely on a horse. In the typical Ealing fashion the two sides are united by both romantic involvement and the need to pool forces to overcome adversity.

Charles Crichton directed the film, which followed the Ealing documentary style even to the extent of having a voice-over narration written by Louis MacNeice and spoken by James McKechnie. A pleasant pastoral study of English life, it suffers from over-abrupt shifts between reality in the shape of statistical information and the fictional lives of the Smiths and the Stoners. But it marks the transition from war to peace for Ealing, and is also the last of the Studios small films, running only sixty-three minutes. Henceforth everything produced was of full feature length.

ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing.

Production Team

Charles Crichton: Director
Jim Morahan: Art Direction
Henry Cornelius: Associate Producer
Douglas Slocombe: Cinematography
Leslie Allen: Editing
John Greenwood: Music
Michael Balcon: Producer
Stephen Black: Script
Mick McCarthy: Script


Jenny Laird: Mary Smith
Bill Blewitt: Pa Smith
May Hallatt: Ma Smith
Robert Griffith: Ted Stoner
Harry Fowler: Alf Stoner

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