Cat no. 598

Film Making Course

Running time16:54 Black & White Sound 1954 Ipswich, Suffolk

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A record of a film-making residential course held 10th-12th September 1954 at Belstead House, Ipswich. Includes three short films made by the course participants.



There is a shot of a car driving along a lane. It arrives at Belstead House. There are shots of the exterior and interior of the house. The interior shots show a young man entering and signing the register. A bell summons the guests to dinner and there are shots of them during the meal. At the end of the day, the students gather in the lounge for a lecture from John Huntley. The next day begins with classroom scenes, this time in seminar format, led by Don Chipperfield. There are shots of the students filming fictional films in which they themselves act. These take place inside and outside. There are shots of the rushes pegged up and of the students checking through them. Some students are using a gadget to join the film. Others lace the projector. The items that follow are three of the films that were made. `A Book at Belstead'. This is a film shot indoors that shows a man in a library. He chooses a book and settles down to read. However, he is subject to various interruptions. Eventually, after the furniture is taken away, he decides to moves to the lounge where he chooses a chintz armchair. He is asked to move. The film ends with a shot of the book he was trying to read - No Resting Place. `Thorn in the Flesh'. This film, shot in the garden, features two women. One, quite plain, is gardening, edging a flower bed using a pair of shears. The other, more glamorous, is reading a newspaper in a chair. She rises and leaves the garden, leaving the newspaper. On her way she is patronising towards the girl gardening, who decides to take the shears to the rose bushes. She tramples the flowers under foot, joined by a West Highland White terrier.

The film finishes with shots of the mutilated rose bushes and of the shears. `Uneasy Chair'. This film combines interior and exterior shots. It intercuts scenes of a woman reading in a chair with shots of a storm brewing and of a man's feet travelling through the garden. It is a kind of story of the supernatural. A window blows open, then a door opens, the man's shoes approach through the doorway, the woman drops her book and the dog runs out of the room. The flower pot falls from the window sill and the film ends with a close-up of the woman's horrified face.

Background Information:

The original Belstead House was built during the 17th Century. It is mentioned in the 1674 Hearth Tax returns and was known as Hill House Farm. In 1835 it became a girls' school: this moved to Aldeburgh in 1887 and the house was sold to Lord Gwyder. It was bought by Major R.E. Quilter in 1919 who in turn sold it to East Suffolk County Council in 1948. Attractive features include oak panelling, beams and window frames. Much of the house dates from the most recent enlargement and restoration in 1936, although some old timbers remain intact.

This course was featured in the Ipswich Evening Star on September 14th, 1954. It includes a photograph of the team shooting A Book At Belstead. The cameraman was Roland Peck, one of the students. It was produced by Don Chipperfield, who was one of the course tutors, and directed by Laurie French. The man with the book was played by Aldborough Bourne. Other participants in the film included Mary Banks, Winifred Frost and Mary Bourne.

Featured People:

John Huntley; course tutor; Don Chipperfield, course tutor; Roland Peck; course tutor; Laurie French, course tutor; Aldborough Bourne, student; Mary Banks, student; Winifred Frost, student; Mary Bourne, student

Featured Organisations:

Belstead House; East Suffolk County Council Education Committee

Featured Events:

A residential film making course held between 10th and 12th September, 1954 at Belstead House near Ipswich

Featured Buildings:

Belstead House

East Suffolk County Council Education Committee

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