It’s been available since 2021 on dvd and blu-Ray ( from the excellent Flicker Alley),  and I finally got round  to viewing this  rare 1951 independent drama, made by producer Louis De Rochemont (1899-1978).

Almost documentary in style, it’s the story of a small New Hampshire town whose main employer is Doubleday Plastics . The factory’ s whistle was an integral part of the town –

“That whistle marked the beginning  and end of each day. It was our curfew , our fire alarm – we even set our clocks by it….”

The company is losing money. To keep the factory open, it needs more modern machinery and there will be potential lay-offs.

Lenore Lonergan, Lloyd Bridges, Ernest Borgnine.

Lloyd Bridges is the union leader who is asked by the factory’s owner, Dorothy Gish to take over the running of the plant after her husband dies in an accident.


Dorothy Gish

A small role for Dorothy Gish as the factory owner who decides to take a chance on the union organiser running the company.


Diana Douglas, Lloyd Bridges.

Diana Douglas plays Lloyd Bridges’s wife. ( she was married to Kirk Douglas at the time).


James Westerfield, Lloyd Douglas.


Ernest Borgnine, Arthur O’Connell, Lenore Lonergan, Lloyd Bridges.


Lenore Lonergan

I was impressed by Lenore Lonergan (1928-1987) as a union activist .Lenore only made a few films, including “Westward The Women”. She had played ‘Dinah Lord’ in the original Broadway production of “The Philadelphia Story.”


Bridges finds being on the management side isn’t easy. He has plenty of opposition from both sides.



Arthur O’Connell, Ernest Borgnine


The film’s  producer, Louis de Rochemont won two Oscars for his historic MARCH OF TIME newsreels in the 1930s.

He joined Fox in 1943 and produced four films between 1945 and 1949 – The House in 92nd Street, 13 Rue Madeleine, Boomerang, Lost Boundaries. All reflective of the social issues de Rochemont was interested in. (I’ve yet to see “Lost Boundaries “.)

Many scenes were shot on location in New Hampshire (where de Rochemont came from).


Thanks are due to the De Rochemont family for initiating the project of bringing The Whistle at Eaton Falls back to life.
Directed  by Robert Siodmak , this is a film I’ll be watching again.
Variety called it ‘ overlong and slow’ and needing ‘plenty of scissoring’. I found it totally gripping and dramatic and well acted by an excellent cast.







3 responses »

  1. I too enjoyed this film far more than some of the reviews.
    In a way it’s Siodmak’s last Hollywood film (THE CRIMSON PIRATE I believe was filmed in Europe) In some ways the film is a return to Siodmak’s documentary roots the German silent classic PEOPLE ON SUNDAY where he was assisted by Billy Wilder,Fred Zinneman and
    Edgar G Ulmer……quiet a line up.
    A more famous Borgnine later worked for de Rochemont on the Cold War thriller MAN ON A STRING.

    • Glad you too enjoyed it, John.
      “Man on a String” sounds interesting. Borgnine is always good.
      That was some apprenticeship for Wilder, Ulmer and Zinnemann . Hollywood was lucky to get all four.

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