Film ID:
YFA 2200

IN THE SPELL OF THE HARVEST

1946

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film made by Kenneth Raynor shows a September Harvest in 1946. The filmmaker comprehensively documents the harvesting and threshing processes in colour, paying particular attention to the machinery and working practices that were common place during this era. Some of the opening shots were reportedly shot around Ulley and Aston; however, most of the film was shot at Park Hill farm, Swallownest near Sheffield.

Title – F.K. Raynor films.

Title – In the Spell of the Harvest.

Title – One more we succumb to the spell of Harvest.
The sound of the tractor in fields, the deep-threated hum of the thresher in the Farm-Yards, and all the other annual rituals that heralds in the month of the harvest-saga-September. The crop has been waiting for rain to cease, and even now in the red light of evening, it is a gamble to say if morning will be enough to commence 1944 harvest.

The film opens with a panoramic view of agricultural fields. The sun rises from over the hills and the filmmaker gets shots of the stalks blowing in the wind. A shadowy figure walks beneath the morning sky.

A woman walks into a field and looks out at the crops. A man drives a tractor ploughing a field with an attached harvester, which another man sits on. Close ups of the plough show ‘Fordson’ is written on it, and then there is a shot of the machinery at work. Another close up of the plough shows ‘Massey-Harris. Canada’ written along a metal plate.  A rifle is briefly glimpsed resting on some stalks, and then a man loads it. Following this, a man uses a scythe to cut the stalks down, before he stops to sharpen it. The tractor is then shown driving off with a trailer carrying many sacks of grain.

A red tractor, driven by a man in a blue shirt, ploughs another field, while a man wearing a flat cap keeps an eye on the plough.  The filmmaker captures the plough spitting out the harvested stalks as it progresses through the field. Next, several workers loads more sacks onto trailer with assistance from a young boy. The plough continues on cutting through the crops with several men riding the tractor, and there is an expansive view of the tractor moving through a field.

In a harvested field, the crops have been gathered into many piles, and a woman wearing a red shirt and grey dress walks into shot staring at the sky. Washing on a clothes line is then shown being buffeted by the wind, before the filmmaker captures the farmers loading the collected stalks onto a tractor pulled cart. Workers wearing overalls and flat caps use pitchforks to place the stalks into the cart, while a man in the cart packs the stalks down. The cart then drives past the camera filled to the brim with stalks, before driving up a narrow lane.

Another tractor, this time driven by a woman, leads a cart laden with stalks up to a barn, where the farmers unload the harvest onto various stacks; each towering many metres high. Working in a chain, the workers use pitchforks to stack the stalks into large mounds. The last few shots in this sequence show the yield of the harvest, with several large stalk stacks dotted around.

Several workers load the stalks into a large red threshing machine, which sieves the seeds grain from the stalk and compresses the stripped stalks. A view of the machines shows ‘Jones Baler’ written along the side of it as workers stand around. The machine then pits the seeds out into sacks with ‘London and North Eastern Railway’ printed on them. The sacks are then tied, weighed and then carried away by a workman in overalls.

The stripped stalks are then removed from another, and the back of the machine and loaded, and they are piled onto a large mound. There are more shots of sacks being filled up and taken away and more hay being loaded in the machine, which works off a belt that runs from the tractor.

The sheddings from the threshing process that have built up beneath the machine are swept away. A tractor then drives round the machine towing a plough, while men continue to load stalks onto the giant stacks. The filmmaker shows men carrying hay bales past the machine before the final shot of this film shows the sun setting off in the distance above the farmhouse.

Title – The end…another T.K. Raynor film.