RUGGED ISLAND, the : A SHETLAND LYRIC

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Places:

  • Shetland Islands

Subjects:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Fish and fishing
  • Agriculture

Genres:

  • Women film makers

People/organisations:

  • GILBERTSON, Jenny Isabel (nee Brown)

Decade:

  • 1970s

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1973 | col | sound
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1969 | bw | sound

Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.

Overall rating:

Title: RUGGED ISLAND, the : A SHETLAND LYRIC

Reference number: 0991

Date: 1933

Director: d. Jenny Brown [Jenny Gilbertson]

Sound: silent

Original format: 35mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 56.00 mins

Description: A documentary story film about a young couple torn between the choice of emigration to Australia or remaining to work their croft in Shetland.

Release date for the sound version 1934.

The silent version of this title (1933) has all the material the sound version has in roughly the same order, however there are some differences most notably in #3 of the sound version where the letter/newspaper scene at the beginning differs from the the same scenes in the silent version.

See Gilbertson papers and dossier on film to accompany premier of restoration in 1996.

Credits: Story by Jenny Brown and Aline Gordon
Preparing and building of croft interiors by John Gilbertson
Characters: Johnny - John Gilbertson, his mother father and sister; Enga - Enga Stout, her mother, father and aunt; Andrew - a neighbour; Flora - the dog; Caddie - the lamb
credits relating to sound version: [m. interpretation Kenneth Leslie-Smith Commentation by Philip Godfrey m. d. De Wolfe Recording Engineers Leonard Hartley, Ian H McKeown Recorded on Visatone Supervision John Gifford]
ph. Jenny Brown [Jenny Gilbertson]

Shotlist: Reel 1
Opening credits (0.47) Coastal scenes. Enga and Johnny on cliffs (2.22) The Crofter depends on the sea for his evening meal men in small boat hauling in lines (3.15) Parents watch from shore for their return (3.26) men row back and split up the catch of fish, gut and prepare fish on poles for drying? (4.50) Inside croft house, family at evening meal of fish (5.24) At Enga's home... Enga serves family at table (6.10) While Andrew... serves himself in his home. (6.50) With the Spring comes the work on the land and the hills men ploughing, sifting hay? (7.29) One's attention is drawn to the hillside (7.57) John climbs cliff to find dead sheep and black lamb (8.40) Takes lamb to croft and Enga feeds it (9.49) end of part one (9.51). 887ft

Reel 2
Neighbour helps neighbour - Enga helps to set potatoes on Johnny's croft setting and ploughing (1.37) Preparing meal, cooked potatoes drained and then served to family, intercut with ponies munching hay(2.48) The land is tilled; it is time to cut the year's fuel from the moors Johnny digging peat (3.32) With the summer comes preparation for the herring fishing in Lerwick Postman delivers letter to Johnny at the peat bank from skipper of fishing boat requesting him to come to Lerwick to go to sea (4.38) Johnny's sister sends message by dog to Johnny to tell him meal is ready (5.56) Inside croft house mother prepares Johnny's oilskins and finds hole in his sea boots. (7.07) Johnny's sister prepares load of knitting to take to buyer (7.40) Enga and his sister set out for shop, sell knitwear to shop owner and buy new sea boots for Johnny (9.05). 818ft

Reel 3
One morning the postman brings news to Enga's house Postman arrives at house. Enga reads letter from uncle in Australia inviting her and Johnny to Australia to make a new life. (1.40) Before Johnny leaves for the herring fishing he helps Enga's father to catch a young pony men round up ponies, catch and bridle one. Pony resists being harnessed to cart (5.13 )Enga says farewell to Johnny and slips uncle's letter into his pocket as he leaves (5.53) Johnny prepares his kit for sea (6.28) reads the letter (7.08) Johnny looking out on the sea from the boat (7.24) A.M. Johnny and crew at work on drifter (10.10) return to port (10.30) End of Part Three(10.31). 947ft

Reel 4
Part Four Johnny writes letter to Enga and post's it in Lerwick (1.18) Back home on the croft Enga receives Johnny's letter Enga receives letter. Johnny cannot go to Australia because he has to stay and look after his parents and sister (2.30) Newspaper headline on poor fishing season (2.47) Johnny returns early from the fishing (4.29) Next day. Enga arrives at Johnny's croft but will not speak to him (5.18) Enga helps family bring in the peat (6.58) And in the evening--- Johnny finishes off stacking the peats outside the house, sees Enga leaving and follows her down to the rocks by the shore (8.03) she refuses to speak and walks away(9.03) storm builds up, crofters prepare, tie down hay stacks etc (9.36) storm rages (10.11) End of Part Four (10.12) 918ft

Reel 5
By morning the autumn storm has spent itself Crofters emerge from homes and clear up damage (1.09) Man calls to Johnny to help retrieve a boat broken loose and damaged on rocks(1.48) Enga places Caddie the lamb in a pen as they clear up the storm damage around the croft (2.40) Johnny and Andrew tow the boat back (3.16) Caddie wanders off from the pen(3.29) Johnny and Andrew winch the boat up to dry land (3.56) Andrew advises Johnny that he wishes to marry his sister and that they will take Johnny's parents to live with them. This, he says, clears the way for Johnny to go to Australia (4.30) Enga, working beside the croft, discovers that Caddie is missing (4.45) she sets off in search and discovers Caddie at the foot of a cliff (6.35) Johnny alerted by the dog follows Enga and brings her back to the top of the cliff, protesting (7.37) Johnny sends a note via the dog for help to rescue the lamb (8.14) End of Part Five (8.16) 744ft

Reel 6
Flora the dog arrives and Johnny's father and sister receive the message (0.50) Caddie the lamb is trapped on a small beach with the advancing tide. Men arrive at the top of the cliff(1.46) Johnny is lowered down by rope (4.17) Johnny rescues Caddie and is hauled back up to the top of the cliff (7.26) Enga and Johnny resolve their argument and walk away together(8.07) Enga and Johnny on the cliffs looking out to sea (8.23) THE END (8.31) 767ft

Total running time 56.26 mins