GB 1917, P War Office Cinematograph Committee, Print b/w, 35mm, 10 min, silent, BFI National Archive

The women in the film are all very young and would have earned more money than they could have dreamed of in service, agriculture or private industry. From contemporary reports this gave them a taste for independence that would be hard to give up when the war was over. (Bryony Dixon, Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film)


GB 1926/1927, D Maurice Elvey, SC Victor Saville based on a stage play by Stanley Houghton, C Jack E. Cox, William Shenton, E Gareth Gundrey, P Victor Saville, Maurice Elvey, Cast Estelle Brody, John Stuart, Norman McKinnel, Irene Rooke, Marie Ault, Humberstone Wright, Arthur Chesney, Gladys Jennings, Alf Goddard, Cyril McLaglen, Peggy Carlisle, Print b/w, 35mm, 116 min, silent, English INT and electronic German SUB, BFI National Archive

In Maurice Elvey‘s Hindle Wakes, factory worker Fanny Hawthorn (Estelle Brody) gets involved with Allan Jeffcote (John Stuart), son of the factory owner, during an annual holiday to the traditional seaside resort of Blackpool – the British counterpart to Coney Island. (…) When their families pressure them to marry, Fanny refuses and calls Allan her “little fancy”, taking the liberty of being sexually licentious beyond romance and marriage. Astonishment and horror on both sides. (…) the way she flips the lever on a machine to set the spindles rotating, in one of the last shots of the film, is more than a symbolic image. It crystallises her commitment to work and the decisive role she plays in it – as it does in her. In the same scene, she accepts the invitation of a factory colleague to go to the cinema, thus the world of work and the leisure culture of the New Woman come together in one image. Hindle Wakes is one of the few films that lets work triumph over marriage, romance and love, forming a bridge between the concerns of the first and second women’s movements regarding self-determination in professional life and sexuality (Annette Brauerhoch, City Girls – Frauenbilder im Stummfilm, 2007).

Accompanied on the piano by Eunice Martins


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