'Through the pattern of this film a ‘Test’ at Lord’s runs like a thread and a broadcast commentary on the match is imposed on the background of cricket as a game, a craft, an interest of a people, a piece of history. The craftsmen are shown who make the ball and the bat–that ‘fourth straight stick’ with which the batsmen defend ‘the other three’. The craftsmen are shown who play the game, from W. G. Grace in the ‘nets’ to D. G. Bradman and Denis Compton in the thread of the ‘Test’. The history of the game is epitomized in the Long Room shots at Lord’s and from there the camera moves to the village green; to the London side- street where the urchins play on a ‘bumping pitch’; to South Africa, and India, where in the ‘blinding light’ there is often ‘an hour to play and the last man in’. [1]

Date: 1950
Duration: 17:15

Director: Grahame Tharp
Production Company: Pathé Documentary Unit
Producer: Peter Baylis
Cinematographer: George Stevens (Possibly)
Composer: -
Narration: Sir Ralph Richardson, and John Arlott
Editor: A. Milner-Gardner
Sound Recording: W.S. Bland, and George Newberry
Technical Advisor: John Arlott
Script: Jack Howells

Length: 35mm: 1700ft. 16mm: 680ft

Still from 'Cricket' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1947-50'

As England battle it out against Australia at Lord’s cricket ground in an attempt to claim the Ashes, we witness the mastery involved in finely tuned batsmanship and perfecting the tactical bowl. Skills both on and off the field are focused on - we trace the life span of the cricket bat from piece of undefined timber to elegantly defined sculpture that will hopefully lead Britain to victory. Along the way Cricket revisits some of the greats of the sports history, chronicling the combined force of ‘muscle, sinew and eye’ fundamental to this great British institution.

This film is designed to affirm the great British ideals of craftsmanship, teamwork and skill. There is also a first in this film as it showcases an Indian male amongst a sea of male whiteness. There is a lot of reference to specific characters from cricketing history, including John Arlott, a stalwart of cricket broadcasting, who voices some of the commentary.

File from The National Archives: TNA BW 1-58 - 'Cricket'

  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1947-50