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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

John Grierson: Granton Trawler (1934)

The second (and last) movie directed by John Grierson. Only 11 minutes long. The fascination Grierson looks with his camera at the seagulls calls in mind his Drifters.

Documentary about the fishing trawler, Isabella Grieg. We follow her from her base in Granton Harbour, in Edinburgh, right up the east coast of Edinburgh, up to the fishing grounds between Shetland and Norway.

Granton Trawler (1934) is an early British documentary that is entirely observational, with no narration and subtle location sound of seagulls and fishermen on a North Sea fishing vessel, the Isabella Greig. John Grierson's cinematography and Edgar Anstey's editing were originally done for a silent film; audio was added later. Well-composed shots of the fishing process, you-are-there ocean swells, and clouds of seagulls establish a mood that seems more like a contemporary documentary than one from the 1930s.

(John Grierson)



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