1hr 16mins
Dir: Frederick Penrose Tennyson
Starring: Paul Robeson and Janet Johnson

A black stoker from the US helps unemployed Welsh miners re-open their pit

This classic Ealing Robeson musical was the first film ever to be premiered on radio. An hour long edit of the film was broadcast on the BBC Home Service a week and a half before its London release on 6th April 1940. There are some railway scenes in the early stages of this film, with good shots of GWR 4500-series 2-6-2T No.4533 working a short mineral train on an unidentified branch, and a shot of an industrial 0-6-0 saddle tank (possibly a Peckett) at work in an unidentified colliery. Despite being set in South Wales, the colliery scenes were said to use Silverdale Colliery in Staffordshire, though much of the colliery scenes would appear to be a studio set. A couple of shots of GWR ‘auto-trains’ in the Stroud Valley were filmed for this movie but were not used in the completed production. One of these shots does, however, later turn up in Painted Boats (1945 qv), another Ealing production.

A GWR 4500-series 2-6-2T hauls a train of mineral wagons alongside a river in an idyllic scene that was once so familiar
Paul Robeson hides out of sight behind the wooden permanent way hut as the train approaches
As the train passes in close up the identity of the ‘4500’ is revealed to be No.4533
Paul Robeson runs out from behind the hut with the aim of cadging a lift in one of the open wagons. The location for this scene is not known.
A named 0-6-0 industrial saddle tank, possibly a Peckett, hauls a coal train at an unknown colliery. It has been suggested that this could be Silverdale in Staffordshire.
Viewed from one of the open wagons, the train enters the confines of the colliery