'O lurcher-loving collier, black as night...' What the lurcher lovers themselves might have made of Auden's madrigal hardly bears thinking about, but the film itself is genuinely adventurous, giving a brusque, matter of fact account of coal mining ('Principal by-products are... largest fields are to be found in...') matched with Britten's harsh 'industrial' music and the romanticism of Auden's verse. Visually it's merely a bunch of library shots strung together, but the very '30s notion of the teacher and the artist complementing each other is still a powerful one.
not credited Alberto Cavalcanti
Montagu Slater, WH Auden, not credited Alberto Cavalcanti
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