Title ID 6504Collection ID811
TitleThe Moon and the Sledgehammer
Collection[Penrose] Penrose / Trevelyan
Genre/TypeProfessionalIndependent Artist/Film-makerNon-fictionFictionActuality/FactualDocu-Drama
ThemeFamily life Working Life
KeywordsSteam Locomotives Animals Fathers Family Trades Roads Cars Gardening Men Handicrafts Houses Domestic Gardens Plants Food Social Problems Workers
LocalChiddingly Horsham
RegionalEast Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPhilip Trevelyan
CameraRichard Stanley
DirectorPhilip Trevelyan
ProducerJames Vaughan
DistributorNewcastle Side Gallery Festival - April 2006
EditorBarry Vince
WriterPhilip Trevelyan
SoundPaul Robinson
CastMr. Page
FormatColour Sound
Duration64 min. 23 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Philip Trevelyan's portrait of the Page family, who live in woodland near Horsham, explores their working lives, habits, commitment to steam power and familial relationships, through interview and documentary scenes.


0:00:11 Music plays. Noisy cars drive past along a busy main road. Now in the woods, two guns shots ring out. A single story house with a corrugated roof is seen in a clearing. Two more shots are heard. An old man appears with a shot gun and prepares to make a speech. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I never go where the cock never crows, and I wouldn't advise any of you to go where the cock don't crow...". Intertitles follow: "This is a film about a real family, living in the South of England. Mr Page lives in these woods with his two daughters, Kathy and Nancy, and his two sons, Peter and Jim."

0:04:11 The two sons, Peter and Jim, work on a piece of machinery until it chugs into life. Organ music starts to play. Inside the house, Mr. Page is playing the organ. He speaks of his daughter Kathleen and her interest in gardening, and Peter, who loves steam engines. During this interview, Mr. Page is filmed in close-up. Peter works on a steam engine, pouring liquid into an engine, which trickles down the side and onto his shoes. Mr. Page talks about Jim's interest in mechanical work and building steam engines. He continues to talk about his children; "Nancy's alright, she loves her motorcar and enjoys herself." Nancy is seen walking in the woods. The family are seen in the garden. Jim jokes by pushing his hat off his head using an invisible mechanism. Mr. Page laughs before beginning to work, turning a mechanism using a long pole, the house and woods in view behind. Kathy plays the organ inside. Scenes of Mr. Page working bookend dark interior shots of the house's rooms, ornaments and belongings.

0:12:05 Mr. Page talks about building a boat that will be finished in spring; "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to make a boat." He must make thousands of rivets for the 9-10 tonne steal boat. He talks about sea scorpions with heads like a frog before fixing a propeller. Mr. Page walks to a forge before pumping air into the fire. He lights a cigarette with the glowing metal. Outside, Jim forges with a hammer onto an anvil, shaping the hot metal. Mr. Page plunges a large hook into the water. Kathy picks pink flowers and gives them to her brother in the garden. He sings for her; "you are my garden of roses...". The scene is shot from inside the house through the window. "It's food before anything," says Mr .Page, "it's food first, work after." Mr. Page speaks about industry and work. He says more work got done in the old times when work was done with horses, no one is working the land to feed the population. Peter is seen lighting a fire while his father talks; "cabbages are not fit to eat anymore... in other words, they're too tired to smell!" Peter is seen speaking to his father about steam power; "England ought to be run by steam," he says, "there're no oil wells in England... they won't be able to get no oil or petrol later on, that's when the steam will come in."

0:20:21 Jim returns to the house with a rabbit. Inside, Nancy embroiders in the dark interior. Mr. Page chops wood. Peter puts a record on and classical music is heard. Shirley sits by the fire, boiling water in a kettle for tea, while Jim makes a sandwich. Mr Page lights a cigarette. He talks about a steam engine while standing by it, a shot gun slung over his arm, explaining that the engine weighs sixteen tonnes. "There're not 16 it's 15" says his son, Peter. The engine is seen moving through the woods and in close-up. Peter talks about gypsies working with the steam engine, that it is hard to work with; "i don't want nothin' to do with that... made altogether wrong." "Fella that's bought that lot, he's ignorant... I aint gonna buy half a tonne of coal for that lot, it aint worth it." Mr. Page is seen talking about Peter being a bad steersman. He wouldn't pass a test; "No, he's not good enough," he says. Peter drives a steam engine to cut wood, shown first in a sequence of close shots of his face and hand, the mechanics of the engine and the circular saw, and a wider view of the engine powering the saw to cut a tree trunk.

0:31:21 "England's all to pieces," Peter says, 'the government's messed the people up." He speaks of taxes and factory work and poorly put together tractors, that are "not put together right." "What are you going to do?" asks the interviewer. "Well, I can't do nothin' about it," he replies. Pistons moving are seen in close-up. The camera cuts to jim, using his mouth and hands to imitate different steam engines. Shirley fetches water from a well and returns to the house to do the washing up. Peter returns and then Nancy, shooing the chickens out of the kitchen. Mr. Page talks about training animals; "You can bring up a fox but it's not the same, he's still got that sly nature to 'im." Kangaroos are different "they take a bit of bread and butter... they're more intelligent... A monkey I could never make nothing of," he says. Jim climbs a tree. Kathy plays the piano outside the house. Jim draws a diagram of the moon and its volcanoes on the ground. A kitten creeps through the trees, playing with Jim. He talks about building a telescope through which he watches the moon. Mr. Page talks about needing a very long ladder to reach the moon; "you know, when I was a boy they used to try and get up to the moon... they got very big balloons. Waste of time, waste of money." "they'd get the moon down, you know, they'd be wheelin' 'im down on two wheels!" "Man shall destroy 'imself. Well they're workin' on that now." He speaks of building wireless and television sets, but explains how dangerous they are, "they'll knock you down."

0:44:16 Jim loads two pellets into a shot gun and walks through the trees. He pulls the trigger and kills a pigeon. "We are something above all, and that didn't come from evolution," he says. Jim is seen working on an engine and talking in the woods, gesturing with his hands. Kathy sits at the steering wheel of a stripped-out bus. "Where are you going," the interviewer asks. "Driving away and no body knows where I'm going," she replies. Piano music begins to play. Nancy sits, explaining that she likes to be on her own. She says she doesn't like where she lives. Mr. Page sings and plays the organ, as Kathy pumps air into the mechanism. "He's altered tremendously," Kathy says. She explains how her father gets angry at her. Mr. Page loads pellets into a shot gun and fires into the woods from a pile of logs. "Yes, I've got some boys. One of them is no good much and the other one is ok." He says of Peter; "the one who doesn't know anything thinks he knows it all." Peter speaks of his father; "sometimes he don't want you to do nothin', he don't like to see you have anything." He explains that he has been working that day for other people. "I can't work with him because he wants his own way," he says, "I've learnt a lot." Peter is seen reversing his traction engine. "He disheartens me in lots of ways," Kathy says of her father. One of Mr. Page's sons pretends to be an elephant, crawling on the ground while wearing a gas mask.

0:56:37 "Selfishness is a person who only thinks of himself," says one of Mr. Page's daughters. He is seen painting large metal circular saws. "He don't care for me, so why would I care for him?" Mr. Page paints his face with the brush. "They're what I call half-bred lunatics," he says, about his children. "He's not interested in me, so I'm not interested in him, and he'll tell you he's the boss," says one of Mr. Page's daughters. He meets Nancy by the bee hives. She takes his coat off before he tends to the hive, wearing no gloves or protective clothing. Jim takes out a pot of molten metal from a fire and pours it into rectangular moulds. The traction engine turns a corner onto a busy road of modern cars. They past Horsham Station. Organ music plays to the tune of "she'll be coming round the mountain...." (Credits).