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Mining Review 17/7: Czech-Mates (1964)


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 is reproduced below:

Prague International Airport. And on the tarmac, representatives of the Czech miners wait to meet a party of mineworkers from Nottingham and South Wales. Mr Pokorny, the Czech miners' leader, greets Leslie Ellis, who has organised the trip, and Oldrich Jiri, who will look after the party, makes the rounds.

And so, Prague. The capital of Czechoslovakia. With the great cathedral of St Vitus high above it, dominating the city. You cross the Charles Bridge to reach the citadel, where among a large group of public buildings, the cathedral stands. St George dealing with a dragon. And Hercules, also in action. The Spanish Hall contrasts architecturally with the hall of St Wenceslas, the patron saint of Prague. Karlstejn Castle - and a tea break. Tea? With beer at sixpence a pint?

Britons and Czechs carried on the get-together well into the evening. But the party also put in some working visits, to an open-cast site and to a typical deep mine. Once at pit bank, it all looked very familiar. Some decided to make a trip underground. There was a complete outfit provided for everybody. But why do other people's pit helmets make even the most experienced miner look like a shell-fish out of water?

Back in Prague, there was a farewell session at the Fuel and Power Workers' pub. While an English-looking butler served refreshments, speeches and gifts were exchanged. Mr Ellis hands over a Nottingham lace tablecloth to Mrs Pokorny. But joking apart, what a contribution visits like this can make to men's understanding of each other, and to all our hopes of peace.