Film ID:
YFA 5697

PRODS AND PAPISHES

1967

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is one of several award winning films made over a seven year period by Bill Davison of Selby Cine Club.   This is an early documentary focused on the Protestants in Belfast around the time of the July 12th celebrations of the Battle of the Boyne.  It shows the area around Sandy Row, the lead up to the march the day before which includes bonfires, the procession of Orange Lodges and Ian Paisley making a speech the year following three months in prison.  The film took the best documentary award in America with the Amateur Motion Picture Association and the Golden Knight International Film Festival in Malta.

Title – WD Presents – Prods and Papishes: the extremists of Northern Ireland

The film begins showing waves lapping onto the shore at Carrickfergus.  The castle is shown with a commentary giving a brief overview of the history of the area including the origin of the religious troubles with the invasion of the armies of William Orange, his landing in 1690 and his victory at the Battle of the Boyne, with scenes re-enacting the battle.  It is stated that the victory pushed the Catholics south, leaving the north to the Protestants.  But because the North was helped by Britain, and the South wasn’t, the relative impoverishment of the South drove many Catholics back North.  This is explained with some film of countryside and nuns.

The films then returns to the current time, and terraced housing with a church bell tolling in the background.  Outside the Venus pub there are some market stalls with fruit and vegetables for sale.  Next, the Catholic Rock of the apparition of Bernadette at Lourdes and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes can be seen.  Other Catholic icons are shown followed by Protestant graffiti on the walls in Northern Ireland which include obscenities.  The Orange Arch on Sandy Row can also be seen.  

It the day before the celebrations of the “Glorious Victory” on 12th July, the 11th when there is bonfire night.  Loyalist banners and Union Jack flags are draped across the terraced streets, along with images of the Queen, and more graffiti, “Paisley for prime minister” and “No Surrender.”  Children are bringing timber for the street bonfires and climbing up them.  Some children have built a den on Sandy Row.  The bonfires are often constructed next to the houses.  One boy pushes a large barrel stuffed with straw along a street, and Police are out in force to patrol the streets.  

A loyalist procession is underway, led by the UVF, with Ian Paisley.  Behind them come a string of Orange Lodges (men in orange sashes and wearing their trademark bowler hats) accompanied by flute players and watched by crowds on the pavements.  Someone holds aloft a copy of the Belfast Telegraph with a headline on mass being celebrated at Buckingham Palace.  Women look out of the windows of the Prudential Assurance as the parade passes by.  Paisley can be seen up close talking to fellow marchers near to the factory of “Henry Taylor and Sons Ltd., Browns Square Works.”  In relation to Paisley the commentary states that, “It is difficult to understand how this man of God can preach such vicious hatred to his fellow man, the Roman Catholics.”  It goes on to say, “But we must realise that equally bitter attacks are being made by Catholics on Protestants in other parts of Ireland.”  Paisley is cheered as he makes a speech about apostasy.

The film switches to show a high wall topped with barbed wire, and with graffiti, “Hang Paisley.”  It is stated that in the previous year Paisley was jailed for 6 months for inciting a riot.  Then there follows more shots of the Loyalist march, including the banner for the 1st East Down UCDC, with an image of the bible.  Children walk alongside the march, many carrying sticks, mimicking the twirling of the batons.  Then more boys are seen carrying materials to put on the bonfires.  One of them carries a crate on his head.  There is graffiti for “Sandy Row.”  Timber for a bonfire is being unloaded form a van.  A boy pulls a trolley loaded with four tyres.  Shopkeepers, including Crozier, General Merchant, barricade their shops with corrugated iron.  More police arrive.  There is graffiti for “Janet Johnson” and “Sandhurst.”  The Orange Arch on Sandy Row is lit up with lights at night, and a bonfire too is lit.  It is stated that the Corporation paid £80,000 the previous year to repair damage done by the bonfires, on the roads etc.  A large bonfire is surrounded by a large crowd of people.  A shop front, Reid’s Shoes, is set ablaze due to a flying spark and the fire brigade is called out, and the men are pelted with beer cans as they put out the fire.

The next day there are the remains of the fire, showing some of the damage.  One shop, ‘Picture Windows,’ has been burnt down.  147 Orange lodges have assembled for the annual 12th July march, of seven miles, all with their own banner.  As the procession enters a field the end of the march, and speeches are made, we hear a rendition of the song, “The Sash My Father Wore”.  There is more graffiti, “F.T.P.”, “Linfield United” and “Rangers”.  Some of the streets are shown, many strewn with litter.  The filmmaker includes religious imagery including a crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary.  The film returns to near the beginning, with Paisley giving a speech outside Shankill Baptist Church.  

The film finishes with the commentary claiming that there was a report in the Belfast Telegraph about a mother and daughter being beaten up simply because the daughter had a Roman Catholic boyfriend.  The commentary states, “Something is sadly wrong.”

Title - W D Production