Film ID: YFA 711 Video of YFA 711 Newfield School 1967-9 NEWFIELD SCHOOL 1967-1969 Visitor TabsDescription This film features a variety of sports and races as well as camping and sailing. The final section of the film, made two years previously, is a dramatized comical of a devil and an angel in competition to see if the boy they follow will listen to one of them or the other. A score is kept throughout the film with good triumphing in the end. This film was made after September, 1969 because this was the time Newfield School went comprehensive. The newly named red building can be seen in the background of the golfing scenes. Title – Newfield School City of Sheffield Education Committee Some of the students walk down a private road near the hills of the school and make their way to sections of field where they will be golfing outside. Title – Golf On the hills by the school the boys are being instructed on how to golf. One of the boys makes a hole in one while the other students around him practice putting. Title – The Race Boys from the school participate in go-kart race on a small street near the school. Spectators are lined up on either side of the road cheering on the different drivers. Most of the competition is filmed from the sharp bend on the track. Only some of the boys are actually able to make it around the curve without toppling over. The next race begins and the spectators take seats on the hill overlooking the racetrack. A running race begins, and a teacher provides commentary from a desk with a microphone. The scoreboard is shown: Barlow 2, Grove 10, Rufford 13, York 10. There is a Competitors Enclosure for the athletes awaiting their races. A gun fire signals the beginning of the next race which involves hurdles. Some of the boys dramatically collapse in exhaustion after they have completed their race. Other track and field events include the high jump, pole vault, the shot-put, and the relay race. York house wins with a score of 119. The team results are applauded. This section of the film ends with a brief shot of the clean up efforts after the sports day event. Title – Camping Title – Sailing Title – Midhope Hall Farm Some of the boys on the camping trip wash their faces at the wash basin while others set up their tents. The faculty chaperone inspects the tents to make sure they have been set up properly. Jokingly, all fifteen of the boys pile in to one small tent and come rushing out upon inspection. Off on a hike, the teacher holds the map and points out directions and instructs on orientation techniques. Back at camp, some of the boys peel potatoes in preparation for the evening meal. Most of the supplies are tinned goods, but there is also bacon, eggs, and Sugar Puffs cereal available. The boys sit together and enjoy their meal. At the end of the trip, they all pack up their tents and the rest of camp. With full packs, the boys walk down the road. Now at a lake with a sailboat ready to go into the water, the boys raise the sail and launch the boat. All the boys wear life jackets and take turns sailing. One of the boats nearly tips over, but the sailors lean all the way backwards to keep the boat afloat. Title – The End The next portion of the film is a fiction film which involves a Boy, a Devil, and an Angel. The film beings with a boy standing in the field by the school holding up a sign: I Am Boy. Next to him an Angel appears with a sign: I am ½ Boy. And on the other side a Devil appears with a sign: So Am I. At Newfield School, for what appears to be the last day, two boys walk down the road away from the school. A teacher is standing in the doorway saying a goodbye as the students exit. The Boy from the beginning runs down the road and kisses his hand waving goodbye at the school in celebration. He then contemplates his next move at which time the Angel and Devil appear next to him. Later on the Boy walks near Meersbrook Park where there is a sign advising to keep off the grass. He kicks the sign and stubs his toe. In obvious pain he limps off. The Angel picks up the sign to return it to its original position in the grass. A scoreboard shows Devil 1, Angel 0. In the next scene the Boy is sitting on a park bench when the Devil appears next to him with two cigarettes. Going along with him the Boy tries to smoke, but coughs as he realizes his mistake. The Angel holds a sign informing him “Fags A’int Good Fer Yer.” A flash shows a graveyard in the rain where the Boy would have a grim future. (The cemetery is located on Derbyshire Lane.) The Boy walks with a girl, and they set up for a picnic. They both each sandwiches, chat, and begin to kiss. The angel creates a wind which blows the rubbish leftover from their picnic back in their direction, and the young girl slaps the boy on the face for going too far before she runs off. The Angel gives the Devil a “thumbs up” as the Boy packs up to leave. The scoreboard now shows Angel 1 Devil 3. The Boy walks along, and the Devil tempts him to play a game of cards with another boy set up at a small table drinking Martinis. The Boy not only loses all his money, but he even loses the shirt off his back. As it turns out, the card player was cheating. He and the Devil shake hands as he reveals four aces attached to the inside of this sport coat. The scoreboard now shows Angel 2, Devil 3 At the Cross Scythes pub on Derbyshire Lane, the Boy tries to enter with a few of his mates. The able appears with a sign: RU 18? Realizing they are not of age, the students turn and walk away from the pub. The scoreboard now shows an even score. At a phone box in the Thorpe House Estate, the Devil appears and tries to tempt the Boy to tamper with the phone. Nearby there has been a car accident, and one of the witnesses is running towards the phone box hoping to call for help. Luckily the Boy has not tampered with the phone and is able to aid in getting help for the accident. The scoreboard now shows Angel 4 Devil 3. In a car park, the Boy walks around and tries many cars looking for an unlocked door. He finds one and takes the red car for a ride. Little does he know, the owner was underneath fixing the car. The Devil pops out of the boot of the car, and the Angel appears, stops the Boy, and tells him to go back. The scoreboard is now Angel 5 Devil 3. In the city centre of Sheffield, the Boy sees a young girl sitting on a bench. The Boy goes over to her to chat her up, and they walk away together. There is a montage of road signs and babies walking or in strollers around the city. Realizing the possibilities, the boy runs away with a final score showing Angel 6 Devil 3. Title – The End – A Newfield Production Context This film is one of nine donated to the YFA made by teachers and students at Newfield School over a 20 year period from around 1956 to 1977. Newfield School is situated on the south side of Sheffield in the Heeley area near Woodseats. It was opened in 1958 and become comprehensive in 1969. The films were made by the School Film Unit. As well as the usual film of school sports and trips out, the collection also includes some imaginative fictional films. They reveal a thriving school, and those involved in making the films show filmmaking skills together with creative flair and wit. In the early part of the 1960s, the school also produced plays performed in a local theatre, and this background is reflected in the films – see also Launch (1970) and Summer Fayre (1977), and the Contexts for these films. It was not that unusual at this time for schools to film school events, and filming was even taught on some teaching training courses. The YFA has a significant number of films made by schools or teachers acting on their own. These films often include School’s Sports Days and other athletic events. The YFA also has a collection of films from around this same time, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, made by a Sheffield father John Wilkinson, of his son’s school athletics events. The film is also worth comparing to more recent short fictional films made by young people: see the films on YFA Online made by the Impossible Theatre group, such as The Dudey Movie(2006-08). The film has some great shots of Sheffield, especially the area around the school, Norton and Meersbrook, as well as of the city centre and the newly built hole-in-the-road. This was constructed on a bombed site – see Sheffield at War (1941) – along with Arundel Gate and opened in 1967, only to be filled in again in 1994 to make way for the supertram. This film is another demonstration of how attitudes to children’s games have changed over the years. It is unlikely that a school today would put on a go-kart race of the kind seen in the film: without protective headgear or clothing. Homemade go-karts of the kind that are used by the school students here used to be a very common sight on streets and open areas right across the UK. Usually made of discarded pram wheels, planks, wooden boxes and string, for steering, they were a great way for children to do a bit of creative designing as well as have great fun – even if a bit risky for riders and pedestrians! They got given different names in different parts of the country: Bogies (London, Leeds), box cars (possibly a US import), trashers or raggers (Stockport), steeries, trolleys, carties, giders (Northern Ireland), dandy (Cornwall), as well as go-karts (Oxford). This list is far from exhaustive, and doubtless unreliable – it was gleaned mainly from a website forum, see References. The second part of the film is an inventive and comical take on an old theme: the struggle against temptation, with the protagonist being led by the devil and deterred by a rather smug looking angel. The temptations being the usual suspects: alcohol (at the nearby Cross Scythes pub), sex (with some clever suggestive editing), gambling and theft – with smoking a new addition. Note that the car the boy goes to steal is a Reliant Regal, becoming the Reliant Robin in 1973. Otherwise known as ‘the plastic pig’ (made out of fibre glass, and a ‘pig’ to drive), although somewhat lacking in power, these had the advantage of being classed along with motorcycles, and so could be driven with a motorcycle license – depending on their weight, and whether they have a reverse gear, they still are classed with motorcycles. The idea may have been inspired by the film Bedazzled made in 1968. This has a character, played by Dudley Moore, who sells his soul to the devil, played by Peter Cooke, for seven wishes. Here too the devil is in a competition with God: to be the first to win 100 billion souls – see also And So to Hell (1956). Although the plot of the film probably simply serves as an interesting one to make a film from, rather than a serious means of teaching morals, nevertheless, the use of the devil as part of a moral worldview shouldn’t be underestimated, even in today’s fairly secular society. In his book, A History of the Devil from the Middle Ages to the Present, Robert Muchembled writes that the figure of the devil was, “...integral to the development of the European world, an active player in a process that has seen the emergence and global triumph of a new way of being human, of a specific common way of leading life, of producing hope and of inventing worlds. The Western devil cannot therefore be reduced simply to a myth, whether religious or, as more recently, secularized.” The idea of the devil may well have shaped our inner psychology, and even our global history, in the way that Muchembled suggests, but for these teenagers he was just another vehicle for having some fun. And that is what comes across from this and the other films the school made: it shows teenagers who clearly enjoy being at school, and that behind this there must have a teacher, or teachers, who had a good relationship with their students, and weren’t scared to let the students do their own thing. References Robert Muchembled, A History of the Devil from the Middle Ages to the Present, Polity Press, 2003 hole-in-the-road on Sheffield Forum Bogies: what do/did you call them?