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Reference number: 0704

Date: 1939

Director: filmed by W. Kirkness

Production company: Craft Studio Production

Sound: silent

Original format: 16mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 6.00 mins

Description: Scenes from the Handba' festival on New Year's Day in Kirkwall.

Winner of the Scottish Prize, The Andrew Buchanan Cup at Scottish Amateur Film Festival, 1940. This was the last festival to be held until the end of the war.

See also ref. 6225 for comprehensive footage of The Ba'.

This title featured in the "Island Tapes" project. To purchase the DVD go to the website at http://theislandtapes.com/cd_dvd.html [last accessed 2/12/2008]

Shotlist: Credits (.09); General views of Kirkwall as seen from a distance (.13); Kirkwall "The Kirk in the Creek" has many associations with the Vikings. Long shot of town (.19); The creek or bay provided shelter for the Viking galleys and Kirkwall became a centre for Norse festivities. Handba' is a survival. Shots of roof and gable ends of houses (.40); The houses with gable ends abutting narrow cobbled streets instinctively clustered together to withstand the rigours of the weather. Shots of houses and snow covered streets. (.55); After the building of St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall extended rapidly. General views of streets (1.06); As open spaces gave place to buildings, the football of earlier days became the handba' game which causes great enthusiasm on Christmas and New Year's Day. Shots of town square and St. Magnus Cathedral (1.33); Kirkwallians are divided into two camps - the "Down the Gates", those born in the lower part of the town between the Mercat Cross and the harbour, and the "Up the Gates", those born in the upper part of the town. Shots of streets (1.49); If the ball is carried down the gates it goes into the harbour. Should the "up the gates" not give way, they are pushed in along with it. Shots of boats in the harbour (2.06); The "down the gates" winner must dive into the water, secure the ball and carry it, tied in a handkerchief held in his teeth to the top of the highest mast in the harbour. Brief shot of the harbour (2.14); If the struggle goes "up the gates", the game finishes at the Castle Corner when the winner may have to fight for possession of the ball (2.22); So strenuous is the game that property in the main street must be barricaded. Shots of shop fronts boarded up. Group of players and shots of spectators. (2.36); The ball is thrown in at the Mercat Cross. Shots of the game (2.43); The ball is caught by the players who form a solid human wall around it. More shots of crowded streets (3.10); Each side strives to push the ball towards their own goal. Shots of heaving crowds. (3.40); The struggle continues for hours (3.57); A win for the "Up the gates". Shot of cheering crowds (4.13); Bill Rory secures the trophy. Man wrestles the ball free of the crowd and stands triumphant (4.30); The End (4.32)