(1938, GB, 42 min, b/w) Dir Albert Clock. Cast Albert Clock, Samuel Teats, the Workers of Yew Street Pot Factory.
By 1938 the film world had been taken over by sound and even holdouts like Japan had been converted. The islands of resistance were few. One such island was that of Northern Irish auteur Albert Clock who quietly produced sixty films from his base in the city of Belfast from 1910 to 1942, all of them silent. “Sound perverts the purity of the medium,” he once said and while the ideal is shared by many, it seems unusual for Clock to be invoking the notion of purity when his films are of the quality he achieved. Albert Clock was the last in the line of the once great Clock family who sold his inheritance so that he could realise his dream of becoming to Belfast what the studios were for Hollywood. The only difference was that while the studios made films made by lots of different people, Clock’s studio had only the one artist – Albert Clock himself. On the one hand Clock had a firm grip on the medium technically, deploying all the tricks that would have Griffith revered but lacking the populist touch for sure, being that all of his films depicted usually made up tales from Clock family history. In Captain Clock & Co his grandfather (played by Clock) is portrayed fighting the Zulu (local pot makers in blackface) at the Battle of Blueford (which is made up). Despite the variable quality of the acting and the fact that the battles take place mostly on the beaches of Murlough Bay (for the sand, presumably) it’s stirring stuff with the kind of grit and realism that would be commendable were it in the service of actual history.