Master of Bankdam

Master of Bankdam is a 1947 British historical film directed by Walter Forde and based on the 1940 novel The Crowthers of Bankdam by Thomas Armstrong.[1] It stars Anne Crawford, Dennis Price, Tom Walls, Stephen Murray, Linden Travers and David Tomlinson. The story concerns two generations of brothers who struggle for control of the family business in 19th century Yorkshire.

Master of Bankdam
"Master of Bankdam".jpg
1-sheet theatrical poster
Directed byWalter Forde
Screenplay byEdward Dryhurst
Moie Charles (additional dialogue)
Based onThe Crowthers of Bankdam
by Thomas Armstrong
Produced byEdward Dryhurst
Walter Forde
StarringAnne Crawford
Dennis Price
Tom Walls
Stephen Murray
Linden Travers
David Tomlinson
CinematographyBasil Emmott
Edited byTerence Fisher
Music byArthur Benjamin
Holbein Films
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
29 September 1947
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The film begins in the 1850s at the time of the Crimean War. Bankdam is a small Yorkshire mill run by the Crowther family. It prospers and grows under its patriarch owner, Simeon Crowther. After family upheavals the firm goes through several crises under the management of his sons Zebediah and Joshua, who tend to oppose one another. Joshua dies with many others in a mill collapse, partially blamed on his brother Zebediah. Joshua's role is taken over by his son Simeon. The old patriarch, Simeon, dies.

Zebediah is diagnosed with a rare heart condition and retires to Vienna for specialist treatment, leaving his son, Lancelot Handel, with power of attorney in his absence. Things at the mill deteriorate due to the new American McKinley Tariff and mismanagement. Lancelot reacts by firing men indiscriminately. Anger grows in the community. In the final scene a fatally ill Zebediah returns and, with a mob outside the door, chastises Lancelot for squandering money and ruining the family firm. Zebediah talks down an angry mob outside. Simeon Junior then promises to reopen the mills. Zebediah hears Simeon's speech to the crowd and decides Simeon must be the new Master of Bankdam and entrusts Bankdam.



The film was produced by Walter Forde and Edward Dryhurst, and directed by Walter Forde. It was adapted for the screen by Edward Dryhurst with additional dialogue by Moie Charles. The music was by Arthur Benjamin, performed by London Philharmonic and conducted by Muir Mathieson.[2][3] There is also evidence that it was produced by Ernest G. Roy of Nettlefold Studios, according to his death notices.

The film was made by Holbein Films at Nettlefold Studios, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. It was produced by Rank Films and distributed by Prestige Films.[4]


  1. ^ The Crowthers of Bankdam by Thomas Armstrong (ISBN 9780002211024), published by Collins
  2. ^ British Film Institute
  3. ^ Film summary, in relation to the musical content, in the book Music and Psychology: from Vienna to London, 1939-52 ISBN 978-0-9540123-1-1, by Hans Keller, edited by Christopher Wintle, Page 158
  4. ^ Bosley Crowther (17 October 1949). "'Master of Bankdam,' British Film About Yorkshire Woolen Mill Folk, at Embassy". New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2018.

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