Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Julius Pinschewer's King Coal

A trip to the continent today with this 1948 propaganda film, made by Swiss-based German filmmaker Julius Pinschewer for Britain's National Coal Board. It depicts the nursery rhyme monarch as the personification of Britain's mining industry, responding to demand for coal by using his lamp to turn the populace (including his fiddlers three) into miners, eventually creating a lush, pastoral paradise. The short is included as part of the BFI's DVD release Portrait of a Miner.

According to, Jan Kraan contributed art to the film while Franz Tischhauser provided the music.

Just to avoid any confusion, this shot has nothing to do with Anson Dyer's 1917 cartoon Old King Coal, which was something about a cat getting trapped in a coal cellar. Meanwhile, in 1926 Norman Cobb directed Old King Cole, apparently a straight treatment of the nursery rhyme and part of the Sing Song Series.

Denis Gifford's filmography lists three more UK collaborations from Pinschewer, all of them adverts: 1956's Willie Does His Stuff, 1950's Save Baby Save and the same year's Bread.

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