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O'er Hill and Dale (1932)


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!

A bleak landscape on a bright spring morning: hillside streams and pools; sheep graze across the Cheviot hilltops. A lone house belongs to Mr Martin the shepherd. He sets out across the fields on his morning rounds, followed by his sheep dogs.

He attends to a newborn lamb, administering medicine before he is on his way again. Another lamb is caught in a hillside stream. Attracted by its distressed mother, the shepherd rescues it. The lamb finds its feet and Martin returns to his round once more. Coming upon a dead lamb, he surveys the fields for its mother. He sets the collies off rounding up a small group of sheep. With the sheep penned, Martin takes one twin from a ewe and clothes it in the dead lamb's fleece. The bereaved mother accepts it as her own.

The shepherd's work continues. Trekking across the hills, he is framed against the sky. He rights an upturned ewe, before climbing to a high vantage point and surveying the fields of sheep below. Swift moving clouds cast shadows against the hillsides as a storm approaches. The wind blows through the tall grass and through the trees. The shepherd returns home as the evening draws in. The storm increases and he sets out once more, rescuing a newborn lamb half frozen on the hillside. Tenderly, he tucks it into his jacket and takes it home, pitched against the wind. The shepherd hands the lamb to his wife and she places it in a small oven where the warmth restores it. Calm has returned, the storm has passed, the hillside streams run gently. Under Martin's watchful eye, the lambs gambol across the fields.