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Box of Delights: Ballad of the Battered Bicycle, The (1947)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque Box of Delights DVD

Main image of Box of Delights: Ballad of the Battered Bicycle, The (1947)
black and white, 9 mins
Production Company Petroleum Films Bureau and Seven-League Film Unit
Focus Questions
In the Classroom

How not to ride your bike!

I'll tell you now a sorry tale of sorrow and of woe,
Of a wicked crime committed not so long ago,
Come along young gentlemen,
Stand anywhere you like,
And gaze upon the picture of where Henry found his bike...

Ballad of the Battered Bicyle is a cautionary tale for cycling show-offs. After his father buys him a bike, Henry tries a series of tricks to show off his cycling prowess, but, as the title suggests, there is no happy ending for his vehicle.

The careless Henry lands himself in court, charged with murdering his bicycle and banned from cycling for two years.

The exact origin of this film is unclear. It was made by the Petroleum Board, presumably to promote road safety among young cyclists and would have most likely shown in cinemas before the main feature.

Follow the link to In The Classroom at the top of this page for teaching suggestions for the Primary classroom. In Focus Questions you'll find suggestions for questions to focus students' attention while watching the film. These will also help to develop their understanding of film language.

Video Clips
Complete film (9:10)
Downloadable Teaching Resources
Cs and Ss worksheet

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