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Mining Review 7/12: Balletomines (1954)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The commentary doubles as a synopsis and has therefore been reproduced in full:

Many times in the past have the men of the West Riding colliery outdone their neighbours in putting on a show as well as turning out the coal. Meet Bernard Powys, Clarence, Bill and Tommy Mason and manager Baster, screenhand Chick Wilshaw, fireman Jim Turner, underground worker Jack Fish, Colin Plant, clerk, and storekeeper Israel Downton.

Produced by a local 18-year-old girl, Averil Panton, these men have made up their own concert party - with a difference. Their make-up is in the hands of Mrs Butler, the local policeman's wife, once a music-hall artist herself. The hall at Normanton Central Town Club is packed with an audience supporting the local charity. Storekeeper Downton takes up the baton and leads off into Délibes' Coppélia.

And here come the boys! I beg your pardon, gi... I mean boys.

With an audience in fits and even the conductor beginning to break down under the strain, it's a wonder that these eight husky miners can keep straight faces. With crafty footwork like this, the men of the West Riding play to packed halls wherever they go. They keep their audiences happy, and if Robert Helpmann's a bit better, so what? It's all in a good cause.