The Moon And The Sledgehammer...

It was back in the early days of Channel 4, and I was about sixteen years old. I was suffering from some sort of social phobia, some kind of dread. I still haven't worked out whether it was an ordinary adolescent experience or a brush with something more sinister. The real McCoy- madness, call it what you will.
Anyway, aside from the trembling discomfort of ordinary days one of the things I remember most vividly from that era was seeing this film one Sunday afternoon.

Phillip Trevelyan's compelling film features the Page family, eccentric recluses living in the south of England, building steam engines, drinking tea and smoking endless roll ups.Mr Page has seen sea monsters and believes that man could reach the moon by means of a long ladder.

His adult children live with him in an old cottage in the woods, the grounds a ramshackle overgrown scrapyard in which the sons restore traction engines whilst Mr Page builds a boat.

There are clips of the film on You Tube, but it really is worth the seventeen quid that you can pay for it here:http://www.themoonandthesledgehammer.com/


  1. Sounds great, will watch the clip and maybe buy the movie. Nothing like a bit of real life eccentricity to get the pulse racing.. and the ears bleeding.

  2. This film is so brilliant is should really be a must-see for any film lovers or anyone who admires the art of independent living. The website mentions how homogenised we've all become. We're all working so hard we have no time for our passions. I also saw this beautiful film on Channel 4 and the memory has stayed with me all these years. There really isn't another film like it. It's so beautiful, moving, powerful, unique and definitely quite eccentric. But I also remember their comments on the environment and quality of food (the cabbage goes squaaark!)and they talk about how oil will become too expensive and look now. they were right. But it's also one of the funniest films too. Can't recommend it highly enough. One of a kind. Truly unforgettable and absolutely unmissable. Like you said, worth every penny for the DVD. The website has a Christmas Offer on so some lucky friends will soon have their own copy (instead of asking to borrow mine!! Really don't want to part with it!) I must've watched it at least 10 times now and there's always something new. Love their mechanical well contraption and all the great music in it. Especially Kath playing that old piano that's been left outside and is crawling with bugs. It makes a wonderful sound. And the traction engines. Isn't the ending brilliant! Don't miss this!!! Does anyone know what happened to the family? Are they still there, building their semi-submarine boats?

  3. I thought I had seen it before! When I saw this for what I presumed was the first time, I came out saying "I am positive I saw this on television", only to be met with hoots of derision and "it's never been shown, idiot" so rather than trust my spooky déjà vu feeling, I put it down to the usual videodrome false memory syndrome.

    And now I discover, I was right all along, you have no idea how smug and self-satisfied I feel right now! I am also glad you said the day it was shown as I had this weird "Sunday" melancholic feeling when I watched it.

    (now I just hope someone does not come along and write "you are both deluded...")

    Incredible documentary, anyway, reminds me very much of the early Lindsey Anderson documentaries and the Free Cinema "movement" of the mid-fifties (I use the quotation marks as Anderson hated the term) in terms of style and the use of natural lighting and letting the subject speak.

    The DVD price is a little steep when you think of the extras Criterion have as a matter of course, the seventeen quid would be great for the film and the follow up documentary together, but another fourteen quid for the follow up documentary making a grand total of £32 including postage, seems incredible for less than two hours of film in total....you can tell I am currently wrestling with hitting the "buy" button!

  4. You're called the saucer people and I've got a massive badger head. No one in their right minds is going to call us deluded! rest assured it was deffo on C4. Wish i could find the date!

  5. I imagine we are both one of the few examples of sanity left on this sceptered isle! It's the rest of them that are deluded!

    As for the broadcast date of The Moon & The Sledgehammer on C4 in the eighties, given the fact that all the best material was at its infancy, it has to be the early to mid eighties at the latest.

    I cannot imagine them showing this now, actually I cannot imagine them showing anything good, period, unless its an accident.
    I am so glad I was an impressionable teenager when C4 first began, it pretty much mapped out my tastes for years to come.

  6. Can't find that broadcast date anywhere! But 1985 at the latest?
    Thanks for the excellent contributions!


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