The Last Days of Dolwyn
This 1949 film is now available on DVD, it is a remarkable story of a small Welsh village and their battle to maintain their way of life. It is set in the quiet farming village of Dolwyn in 1897, a massive dam and reservoir is built at the head of the valley above the village with the intention of supplying a water supply to the city of Liverpool.
But, construction is stopped when geological difficulties arise when it is discovered that what was thought to be limestone is actually granite. One of the backers for the scheme, the wealthy Lord Lancashire then comes up with a cheaper plan, which is to flood the valley, he sends one of his agents, Rob, to Dolwyn to try to persuade the villagers to sell their land.
But, Rob is a man with only hatred in his heart for the people of the valley, twenty years before he had been stoned out of Dolwyn for thievery. He is hated by the people of the village and is out for revenge, in particular for Gareth, the local shop owner who was one of those who had stoned him.
Rob manages to persuade the debt-ridden Lady Dolwyn to sell her land and then goes on to offer the villagers large sums of money for their leases. But, his plans come unstuck when documents are discovered which reveal that Gareth’s step-mother owns her land in perpetuity. Out of sheer revenge, Rob still plans to flood the valley, but he is killed in a fight with Gareth.
The film moves at a slow pace but each character is very well defined, it is directed by the distinguished Welsh playwright, Emlyn Williams, who also plays the role of Rob, and in what was only his second film, Richard Burton shines as Gareth. In a very small part, look out for a very young Tom Jones.