Film ID:
YFA 2187

HOME JAMES

1972

Visitor Tabs

Description

A Yorkshire Television Production, Home James follows James Mason as he returns to his childhood home of Huddersfield. During his journey, Mason explains why Huddersfield holds such a special place in his heart.

Part One: The film opens with a shot of railway tracks from the front of a moving train. This is followed by a long shot of the train passing through the countryside surrounding Huddersfield. The train enters a tunnel, and the title appears.

Title - HOME JAMES.

James Mason sits in a carriage looking out of the window.

Title - JAMES MASON TURNS AGAIN TO HUDDERSFIELD

Seated in the carriage, James Mason talks about how he was born and brought up in Huddersfield, but during which time, he had little affection for it. His view has changed due to family ties, and now he has been won over by Huddersfield.

The train passes over a viaduct, and Huddersfield can be seen. In town, men are singing, and Huddersfield terrace houses with slate roofs can be seen. The camera moves up the street. James Mason talks about the gentleness of the people, and the men can be seen singing again. This is followed by scenes of a factory.

James Mason speaks about the cultural attitude of Huddersfield. People walk through the streets of Huddersfield, and a double-decker bus headed for Holmfirth is in the background. A man clocks in, and James Mason's voice over explains that things evolve slowly in Huddersfield which contributes to the character of the locals.

Factory workers go onto the shop floor. The factory whistle sounds, and the camera zooms in on a clock which displays 7:30AM. By the river amongst the factories and mills, here Mason speaks about his love of the factory chimneys and the other parts of the Huddersfield's industrial landscape. He says Huddersfield keeps behind the times, and mill machinery hasn't changed much for one hundred years. Included with this are scenes of mill machinery, cloth and wool making, and factory workers at various machines. This is followed by scenes of Huddersfield and the surrounding countryside.

James Mason stands by a field gate with the countryside behind him. He begins to talk about Huddersfield prior to the Industrial Revolution, during which time it was a farming community. Textile making was a cottage industry where entire families would contribute to the making of the cloth. Now Huddersfield has grown into the heart of the world's textile industry. There is an aerial shot of mills and factories followed by more scenes of Huddersfield. A man and small boy sit on a hill with a factory in the background. James Mason's commentary explains that Huddersfield has a village feel. This can be seen as children play round a lamp post, by a woman going into a grocery shop, and the other scenes of people walking along the streets.

James Mason walks along the street and tells a story to illustrate the character of the Huddersfield people. A brass band marches along the street. James Mason says that currently 130,000 people live in Huddersfield, and a further 70,000 live in the surrounding villages. Each area has its own brass band. He explains how Huddersfield people close ranks to outsiders. Women chat as they work, men sort wool by hand, and there are other various factory scenes. James Mason talks about how few people drift away from the area, and even the young people stay around. He speaks of Huddersfield people's belief in thrift. This is accompanied by a scene of a man depositing five pounds into the bank.

The film then moves onto the subject of the wealthy mill owners and their lifestyle. A Rolls Royce is in traffic. This is followed by the big mansions which are inhabited by the mill owners. During a party taking place at a mill owner's house, people talk in small groups: the men in tuxedos and the women in seventies evening gowns.

Next discussed is Huddersfield's musical influence. At night, the houses which line the street can be seen with their living rooms lit and the sound of music coming from them. Inside, a couple sing and play on pianos side by side.

James Mason speaks to camera from the street in an area called Marsh where he was brought up. He points out where a friend of his lives as well as the house where Yorkshire Cricketer Wilfred Rose used to live. Next Mason speaks from the garden of his childhood home, Croft House. He gives a history of his family while the film cuts to black and white stills of his family.

Elderly men and women walk up a hill and into Holy Trinity Church, and inside, the congregation sing a hymn. James Mason talks about Huddersfield's sense of morality. He speaks to camera outside the church and explains it is the church his family attended, and its choir won the National Championship at the Festival of Britain in 1951.

James Mason returns to the subject of Huddersfield's musical heritage, which he says sprang up from church Sunday Schools. There is an exterior shot of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School, and a lady leads a music group. A young boy and girl sit on a farm wall. The boy holds his trumpet while the girl plays the clarinet. At the music shop, a girl tries out different types of pianos. The film returns to the house with the two pianos where a music group is practicing. A boy runs along the road, late for band practice in a hall. The first part of the film ends as children get off the bus and walk along with their instruments. Here, James Mason speaks of the importance of music in Huddersfield.

Part Two:

The second half of the film opens with James Mason walking along the canal bank, past the factories and mills. He suggests that the right way to do things is the old way, and sees rationalisation of industry as the beginning of dehumanisation. The ICI Plant is run by a computer and employs just ten men. Another example of rationalisation is the assembly line like that in the David Brown factory where tractors are made at high speed. James Mason notes that the knowing Huddersfield man will view the acres of unsold ones with a wry smile.

Men in overalls look at wool in the factory. Mason explains how Huddersfield businesses are handed down through generations of the same family. A Rolls Royce comes out of a garage. James Mason tells us how common men have become extremely wealthy and respected through industry. His example is Robert Hanson of Hanson Haulage who goes to work every day despite being over 80. He leaves the house, hands his brief case to his chauffer, and gets in to the car. As Hanson is in the car on the drive to work, his commentary explains his dislike of school. James Mason gives a history of the Hanson Haulage Company, illustrated with black and white stills of the early horse and carts. Red Hanson Lorries appear over the hill coming towards the camera. Then at the Hanson Coach Company, Mr Hanson is in his office with his secretary. The walls of his office are adorned with family portraits.

David Brown's engineering firm was once the biggest in the UK, and views of the factory can be seen. Next Brook Motors is introduced. Frank Brook is in his office, and Mason calls him the business man, and Jack Brook, his brother, the engineer. Both men are addressed as Mr Frank and Mr Jack respectively. Jack is on the shop floor talking to the men, and when Jack arrives home, he is greeted by his three granddaughters who are cycling in the back yard. Jack takes them indoors to teach them about motors. Mason notes the regret that the brothers feel because their sons do not want to take on the family business.

The film then moves onto the subject of sport. Mason says that Huddersfield men are very competitive. There is a man playing golf. James Mason speaks to the camera from a rugby pitch as he gives a history of Rugby League. Archive footage is used during this scene. Locals watch a cricket match and men bowling on a green. Then, standing in a yard, James Mason talks to camera about club fighting. Men play snooker at the Huddersfield Club, and local eccentric, Franklin Broadbed, entertains a group of men with his shoulder stand. There is also footage of people chatting in the bar.

The film returns to the subject of Huddersfield's music groups. Mason lists the different music groups in Huddersfield. This scene includes footage of rehearsals by the Huddersfield Choral Society and the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra.

Now standing in the street, James Mason tells the viewer about letters he received while living in California. The letters were from the daughter of early film pioneer Bamforth. She sent him lantern slides as well as postcards. The Bamforth Postcard Publishers was still in existence. The camera zooms in on the building behind Mason, and next is an interior shot of James Mason at the publishers. The camera zooms out to reveal a selection of postcards like the ones sold in Blackpool. Mason then looks through a collection of postcards while playing in the background are songs which were popular during the First World War.

Next James Mason visits two of his old friends from the area, one of whom is Wilfred Makepeace Lunn who makes little bicycles. Mason looks at his bicycles and chats with him in his house. His second friend is Peter Brook, a local painter whose paintings of Huddersfield landscapes Mason had around him while living in California. Mason is in his studio, and Brook can be seen at work. Then, the two men walk across the moors talking.

In the final sequence a women leaves a factory by the canal. This is followed by footage of Huddersfield during which Mason sums up the beauty of the town. The film ends with a large group of people singing on a hillside above the town, and the camera moves up and away from them revealing an aerial view of Huddersfield.