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THE LAST DAYS OF DOLWYN

UK, 1949 (MIFF 1953)

Director: Emlyn Williams

Drama set in the little village of Dolwyn in North Wales in 1892. Rob, embittered as a result of being driven from the village as a boy for stealing, returns full of vindictive triumph to arrange on behalf of Lord Lancashire the flooding of Dolwyn to allow the passage of water from Wales to Lancashire for a commercial enterprise.

The scheme is resisted by the villagers led by Merri. caretaker of the chapel, who lives with her two foster sons, Gareth and Dafydd, Gareth eventually finds an old document proving Merri's right to her cottage and land in perpetuity. It means she cannot be forced to leave Dolwyn and the village is reprieved. The villagers celebrate in age-old fashion, a bonfire is lit, there is singing and dancing. Furious and frustrated, Rob is determined Dolwyn shall be destroyed. Intending to flood the village he goes to'the dam and sets off the alarm for flood warning. He fails to operate the flood valves and decides to burn the village instead.

Whilst he is throwing paraffin over the deserted cottages, he is interrupted by Gareth. In an argument Rob is accidentally killed. Merri sees the struggle and decides to flood the village to remove all evidence of the tragedy.

It is interesting to compare Emlyn Williams's theatrical treatment of a drama set in the Welsh hills with Paul Rotha's docu¬mentary approach to a similar theme and setting in No Resting Place. Rotha dispenses with studio effects and "stars" to produce a refreshing account of the nomadic existence of Irish tinkers. Emlyn Wiliams, trained in the theatre, uses well-tried stage techniques to present a film in which everything is subordinated lo the narrative.

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