Film ID: YFA 2199 Video of YFA_2199 I Saw This, November 1940 I SAW THIS, NOVEMBER 1940 1940 Visitor TabsDescription This film, by local filmmaker Kenneth Raynor, captures various activities taking place in a small rural village. The reel contains family weddings at Swallownest Methodist chapel and Aston church. The film also documents country walks down Church Lane (Aston), a working water wheel and other village scenes around Laughton (South Yorks.) Title – I saw this. November 1940. The film opens with various shots of a cloudy sky, before the filmmaker shows a clock tower which has several images of a calendar superimposed over it. Title – Here you are seeing just a few things that became permanent instead of the usual forgotten fleeting moment. Literally, they were snatched out of time. Why these… The first shot shows a bespectacled man looking at the camera. Then there is a brief scene in a sitting room with an open fire; a group of people sit round reading books and enjoying each other’s company. Then two men wearing hats and trench coats stroke a horse in a field. The filmmaker then captures the village of Swallownest in the snow; a woman walks down a snowy street with a basket, shots of snow covered roofs, a woman walking her dog, and finally there are expansive views of snow covered fields. The next sequence features a wedding; the bride and groom stand in the church entrance with the groom wearing a suit, while the bride wears a traditional white dress. A car pulls up outside their reception venue and the bride and groom exit. Inside the wedding venue (what appears to be a church hall) there is a tiered wedding cake and a banner that reads ‘God is love’. A new wedding couple exit a church and the filmmaker gets a close up of a white rose pinned to the groom’s suit. There are then various shots of people in suits and dresses, particularly the filmmaker and his wife, sitting on some grass by a tennis court. They then walk down a country lane and leaf through magazines in deck chairs. The next sequence shows children playing in a school yard. A horse drawn plough harvesting a field, before a man is captured taking a picture with a stills camera. The filmmaker then turns his attention to a watermill and gets several close-ups of the wheel. Following this, a woman walks down a country path and there is a church steeple visible far off in the distance. Then shots of various streets in a village, where the steeple can also be seen. Then a fairly lengthy sequence that shows three women in coats and hats - discernibly of that period - walking through fields and climbing fences. A man then walks towards the camera down a road lined with trees, and a woman sits on a stone wall. A woman on horseback passes the camera, leading two other horses down the road. Various shots of hilly landscapes are captured along with views of a rushing river. A woman the smiles at the camera in a corn in a field, and then there is a brief shot of the clock from beginning of the film. A wedding car pulls up to the pavement, and a woman with a bouquet of flowers is followed out by a man in a suit. Then, outside the church, the bride and groom stand in the entrance; the groom wears a serviceman’s uniform, and the woman wears a much understated coat and hat ensemble. They walk through a crowd of wedding guests who throw confetti over them. The filmmaker then captures the happy couple getting into a car and driving off. There are the shots of various house hold items: clothes line, grandfather clock and an electric fan. The film closes with portrait shots of the filmmaker and his wife in their home. Context Local born amateur filmmaker Kenneth Raynor has made a rather beautiful and unusual film of his home village of Swallownest. Part of its intrigue is that it covers a period during the Blitz, from November 1940, without there being any hint of a war, although just a few miles east of the bomb-targeted steel and engineering industry of Sheffield and Rotherham. Of equal interest are the highly unconventional shooting angles, reminiscent of the montage methods of Eisenstein. This is one of about 18 films made between 1940 and 1947 by Raynor (formerly ‘Rayner’). His father Gerald was the caretaker of the local school where his mother, Maud, was a cleaner. Kenneth trained as a chemist and was employed in a steelworks in Sheffield during the war, being registered as a conscientious objector. As might be suspected from the beautiful shots in this film, Kenneth was a nature lover and also a photographer, taking portraits and wedding photos, always using the best equipment he could buy. It is revealing to note that on his death Raynor left several films made by the influential Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy, including Marseille Vieux Port from 1929 and Urban Gypsies from 1932.