Brocks Movies

john g
22nd July 2007, 17:24
This must stir memories.......before DVD and VHS we had spooled movies what were the best and worst ......anyone remember

22nd July 2007, 19:01
Hi John,

I must have been unlucky, I don't recall movies on any Brocklebank ship except Mahronda. They were very poor quality "what the butler saw" type movies played during a long sojourn in Jeddah to catch the interest of the Saudi dockers who watched through the portholes with their noses squashed against the glass.


Nick Jones
22nd July 2007, 22:27
We had some sort of system, where we could exchange them in certain ports, I think the most we had at one time was 4, 16mm, usually 2 reels per movie. As electrician I had to show them, usually on a Saturday night. I remember on the Matra rigging up a canvas screen on the aft of the bridge showing them over the hatch on # 3 hold. Occasionally when in my cups so to speak I get the reels in the wrong order, but it didn't seem to matter. We sometimes got "Training" films from other ships in port which were rather poor quality, but provided some entertainment.
Nick Jones

22nd July 2007, 23:10
sounds like walport or cattermouls.

22nd July 2007, 23:14
The Film library was provided by Walport. They consisted usually of a tin box of 3 movies in 16mm format - 2 reels per film. These were exchangeable in most large ports through the ship's agent or directly with another vessel in the scheme. These boxes were very heavy & if you had to walk the length of the jetty at Mena, for example, to the agent's office carrying one of these boxes to exchange then your fingers bore the scars for a few days afterwards. Very rarely in my time (late 50s, early 60s) did we get a film in colour. In BP it was the apprentices' job to show the films. On a 2 apprentice ship, on a long voyage, you may have to show the same film 3 or 4 times.
Films were meant to be exchanged in good order, i.e. without breaks, but in my experience this rarely happened. As a young, green apprentice, it was best to check the film for breaks on the hand rewinder provided before you showed the film "down aft" if you wanted to avoid the wrath & ridicule Of all & sundry.
Kind regards,

K urgess
23rd July 2007, 00:30
Best bit was when someone had either not bothered to rewind the film or had done it ass about face. Especially if you didn't notice until show time.(EEK)
Delays in showing films were not tolerated and the operator could be subject to torrents of abuse or showers of empty beer cans.
Best box ever contained Tora! Tora Tora!, Jungle Book and Once Upon a Time in the West. We didn't want to part with it again.(Thumb)

Does anyone remember the fore runner to video tapes that consisted of 8mm film that was fed through a video scanner and modulator before going to the TVs? Provided by Walport.


Ron Stringer
23rd July 2007, 12:19
On one ship we had a Walport box with the James Bond film "From Russia With Love". One of the reels contained the sequence at a gypsy camp where two girls got into a fight. That reel (and only that reel) was played so many times that I am amazed it was still viewable by the time we exchanged it. You would even find that after coming off watch at 4 a.m.,the 12-4 crowd would have it on in the smoking room. Everyone would be cheering and making lewd comments. As soon as the scene was over, the reel would be rewound and played again.

23rd July 2007, 15:20
When we first started docking in Gothenburg, on the ACL ships, to pick-up Volvo's and other stuff a guy used to come aboard euphemistically known as "The dirty-book man". Along with his dirty-books he also sold blue movies. Someone hit on the bright idea of buying a projector, off him, and also buying a supply of blue movies to see us across t'Atlantic, and back. Then, when we next docked in G'burg we would exchange the movies, we'd seen, for some new titles giving "The dirty-book man" a few quid to make it worth his while. The first time "the bluies" were shown just about every person, who wasn't on watch, attended and, after the show, could be seen departing for their cabin walking with a strange bent-over gait!!
Subsequent showings had less and less people attending and the enthusiasm (novelty?) soon waned and, after a couple of exchanges of movies with "The dirty-book man", it got to the stage where nobody bothered to watch them. I bet socioligists could have a field-day trying to work THAT anomaly out!!!!!!
"What? Jolly Jack The Ocean Pig not liking blue-movies? Rubbish!!!!"
A raffle was held one trip for the projector and that was that!!!! Salaams, Phil Roe.

23rd July 2007, 19:10
The "special effects" in the Walport safety features were a hoot (LOL)

Tony Selman
23rd July 2007, 20:34
The only actual Brocks ship that I was on that had movies was the Mahsud in 1969. The Moss tankers had movies right from the start of Brocks manning them in 1965. It was always Walport in my time and it was usually the R/O that showed them although this was not exclusive. I can remember numerous occasions dashing down from watch to start a movie and someone coming to get me to change reels and being distinctly unpopular if I was was busy at the wrong moment.

In some of the more god forsaken ports we would often nip over to another ship and swap boxes for a day or so and on a couple of epic occasions we watched 3 movies in one night after an American ship loaned us some really good ones but they were sailing the next morning. I can remember putting the boat down in a couple of ports and swapping with someone, a deal that was usually arranged over the VHF. In these days of sat comms and dvd's all this must seem like a trip into the dark ages but by God we enjoyed it at the time. No matter how bad a film was it was watched several times.

The projectors were not overly easy things to fix either. They had a semi complicated threading mechanism and if the sprockets were starting to go or things were a bit out of alignment they were quite tricky to keep in good fettle.

27th July 2007, 19:05
Ah! Walport film boxes. We had some good boxes on the Mahseer 1969-70 and the 'cinema' was arranged aft of the bridge with the chairs set out on no. 3 hatch in front of the funnel. Many memories of Indian Ocean nights with muggins in charge of the projector! Actually, I think it wasn't in bad nick ( the projector!) and we had pretty well uninterrupted service. I seem to remember Ron Manderson ( Elect.) being quite taken with ' The Battle of the V1'. Is Ron to be found on the site? Several questions: Why was the Radio Dept in charge of the projector? Why was it that the best Walport box was a swap with the Singhalese Navy guys in Columbo? Why did Ron keep saying he was a 'fairy', 'Fairy Nuff?'
Yes, it seems a different world...... it was a different world!

16th September 2007, 16:37
Ah the Mahseer. Indian ocean, movies on #3 hatch with half a case sitting
next to you. As this half a case was invariably empty by the end of the movie, it was just as well there were plenty of willing hands available to stow away all the gear.
I was RO on her the second half of '71. I can even remember a little bit of what happened in Gan Island, but not a lot!


16th September 2007, 23:06
Operated projectors P&O passenger ships.Ashore in later years always noted the warning dots to change reels when at a movie.Carrying a full ship of Ambonese to Amsterdam from Djkarta was surprised to find their favourite film was The Harry Lime Theme.This was despite their lack of English & our having the usual musicals etc. Kiwi

Derek Roger
16th September 2007, 23:45
On Brocks it was Walport .
We used to rate the moves on a scale of 3 to 12 . A real good movie which kept one rivited to ones seat meant you only had time for 3 beers ( one for each reel ) a poor movie was a 12 which allowed 3 or 4 beers per reel ( depending on the numbers of reels )
Needless to say the real rubbish was the most popular; 5th would knock on my door and say " Hurry up Sec the Movies about to begin and its a definite 12 ! "
Ps The movies were generally new releases with some old stuff mixed in ' the quality was good and were very welcome especially on the tankers .