Red Ensign – 1934 | 89mins | Drama | B&W
David Barr is a ship builder aiming to launch a new type of vessel. When the board of directors back out of financing the project, Barr puts forward his own money but is later caught forging his chairman’s signature on a cheque and is sent to gaol. On his release, the ship is finally launched and he is reunited with his fiancée June who stood by him.
A third film in quick succession starring Leslie Banks, again with an original screenplay by Powell and Jackson based on a newspaper article, Red Ensign was more fondly recalled by Powell than many of his works of this period. Set in a Clyde shipyard, Powell surrounded his star with authentic Scottish actors and proudly boasted of ‘the elaborate staging of the shipyard, the big, sweeping exteriors (filmed on location in Glasgow), the high standard of the performances and the sincerity of the actors, the overall seriousness of my approach to directing our story’, the effect of which was that ‘people just didn’t know what to make of (it).’
Released on home video in 1992, Red Ensign was loosely remade by British National in 1943 as The Shipbuilders, directed by John Baxter and starring Clive Brook.
Michael Powell: Director
Alfred Junge: Art Direction
Leslie Rowson: Cinematography
Gordon Conway: Costume Designer
Geoffrey Barkas: Editing
Michael Balcon: Executive Producer
Jerome Jackson: Producer
L du Garde Peach: Script
Michael Powell: Script
Jerome Jackson: Script
A Birch: Sound