Group 3 Films and John Grierson

Friday, 26 November 2021  |  Admin

In 1951, documentary filmmaker John Grierson established Group 3 films, supported by the National Film Finance Corporation (NFFC), which later helped to launch the careers of Ridley Scott and David Puttman. Group 3 was short-lived, making more than 20 films, and was active only until 1955, by which time it has amassed losses of £500,000.

Group 3's first film was Judgement Deferred, featuring Joan Collins, in only her third film. Group 3's catalogue also included films featuring Diane Cilento, Kenneth More (Brandy for the Parson), Arthur Askey, and Margaret Rutherford in Miss Robin Hood.

Two of the films, Laxdale Hall and The Brave Don't Cry were set in Scotland.

Laxdale Hall, from the 1951 novel by Eric Linklater, concerns the few residents of Laxdale who own cars refusing to pay their road fund licence because of the poor state of the only road which links them to the rest of Scotland. A parliamentary delegation including Samuel Pettigrew, M.P. (Raymond Huntley) and Andrew Flett (Fulton Mackay) is dispatched to the Scottish Highlands to quell the rebellion! The film also features Prunella Scales, Andrew Keir and Rikki Fulton in early roles. The script had initially been offered to Ealing Films, but turned down due to so many commitments to other film projects.

The Brave Don't Cry is a dramatised reconstruction of a mining disaster at Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery, Ayrshire in 1950. Made in 1952, the film dramatises the tense events of the rescue of miners trapped underground after a pit shaft was flooded and nine men were lost.

Panamint Cinema's DVD also includes  Documenting John Grierson, in which Bill Paterson narrates the Hopscotch Films production of the life and work of the documentary pioneer, shown on BBC2 Scotland. Features interviews with many he influenced, including Alfred Hitchcock. Also included is The Terrible Price. An independently produced documentary made by Martin Smith, screened by BBC2 Wales, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Gresford mining disaster in which 266 miners lost their lives.

Both of these titles, and many more, are now available at only £12.99, or £20 including postage for the pair!!