FOCUS ON SEAWARDS THE GREAT SHIPS, a

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Title: FOCUS ON SEAWARDS THE GREAT SHIPS, a

Reference number: 19576

Director: d. Oliver Cheetham

Sponsor: British Film Institute

Sound: sound

Colour: col

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 5.54 mins

Description: In this specially-created short film, Janet McBain, founder curator at the Scottish Screen Archive, discusses the Oscar-winning documentary Seawards the Great Ships (1960).

Courtesy of BFI Education. This piece of film was originally created for BFI Screenonline. See http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tours/shipbuilding/tour3.html

See also ref. 2230

Credits: comm. s. Janet McBain
w. and p. Gemma Starkey

Shotlist: In this specially-created short film, Janet McBain, curator at the Scottish Screen Archive, discusses the Oscar-winning documentary Seawards the Great Ships (1960). Made to promote and celebrate Scotland's shipbuilding achievements, Seawards was released at a time when Clydeside was the world's shipyard. In fact, at this time as many as 23 shipyards occupied a two-mile stretch of riverbank.

The film's treatment was written by John Grierson, the Scottish-born godfather of British documentary film, and directed by Hilary Harris, a young American filmmaker. It took over a year to make, with the production team reportedly filming every launch from each of the 23 yards during the process.

McBain takes us through the film's key elements, revealing surprising facts about the way some of the extraordinary shots were constructed and explaining why the narrator's voice was changed several times. She also celebrates Seawards the Great Ships as a glorious swansong of shipbuilding on the Clyde and the epitome of the documentary film craft in Scotland.