Caught by the River

The Moon and the Sledgehammer

21st August 2021

Cult 1970s film The Moon and the Sledgehammer (as reviewed for us back in 2011 by Mathew Clayton, and screened by us in April and November that same year) celebrates its 50th birthday in 2021. Directed by Philip Trevelyan, the film is a glimpse into the lives of the Page family, living off-grid in a patch of Sussex woodland; the last remnants of a once thriving rural community driven to near extinction by modern machinery.

In their leafy idyll, the Pages casually go about their day, tinkering with archaic steam engines, making parts on the forge for a semi-submarine style boat Mr Page is building, or playing haunting melodies on the piano rotting in the garden. We hear the philosophies (and fantasies) they have formed about the world around them.  Mr Page expounds on having time to live life with time for one’s passions, the quality of food, job satisfaction and why the world is heading in the wrong direction.  ‘Man will destroy himself’, he cackles.  ‘Well, they’re doing that now’.  

The film’s negative has now been restored, in celebration of its 50th year. With grading supervised by Philip Trevelyan, it is almost indistinguishable from the original, in soft, warm colour. The restored version is newly available on DVD, alongside companion disc Behind The Moon and the Sledgehammer. Retailing at £23.99, Caught by the River readers can bag themselves 25% off using code 50 GLORIOUS YEARS here.

Additionally, the film is to be screened at a special event at Picturehouse Central, London, on 1 September, followed by a Q&A with the director, long-time fan of the film Maxine Peake, and arts and film critic John Russell Taylor. More information and tickets here.