A Letter From Ulster

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Details

Location

including Tynan Abbey in County Armagh, Various

Year

1944

Source

National Film and Television Archive

Format

35mm, nitrate film

black and white

Length

33min 08sec

Silent

sound

Courtesy

COI (Film Images)

Rights Holder

Central Office of Information

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.

Description

A 'story documentary' using actual locations and real soldiers, though its characters and story are fictional. A Letter From Ulster tells the story of two brothers - Don and Willy Carver - American G.I.'s who are told by their Colonel to write a 10-page letter home. Their letter - and discussion about its composition - becomes the source of the film's voice-over, as they comment upon their experiences since arriving in Northern Ireland.

Notes

Most of the cast were non-professionals, including the two soldiers in the lead roles - Sergeant Donald Prill and Private Walter Newffield. Although the film was distributed in Britain by MGM, it was primarily intended for audiences in America, where it was reportedly shown in 10,000 cinemas. On 26 January 1942, the first American troops stepped ashore at Belfast's Dufferin Quay, and by May the number of Americans had reached 37,000. In 1943 greater numbers arrived in readiness for the Normandy landings, reaching a peak of 120,000 (about one-tenth of the local population) by June 1944. American GI's stationed in Northern Ireland during World War Two became known as 'doughboys'.

Shot List

This film is a travelogue, set against the background of American troops stationed in Northern Ireland during World War Two. Two troops (also brothers) recall their experiences since landing in Ulster - arrival at camp, teaching baseball to local children, military maneouvres, an assault course and 48-hours on leave.

Credits

Producer - Shaun Terence Young; Director - Brian Desmond Hurst; Crown Film Unit: Photography - H E Fowler; Sound - Jack Moy; Unit Manager - Nora Dawson; Cutter - Donald Ginsberg; Made with the co-operation of the United States Forces in Britain.