Between Those 4 Walls

Registered: 17th October 1962
Duration: 23 minutes
Feet: 2070 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: ​BR/E27824
Produced for:​ United Artists
Production Company: ​ ​Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

More Film Stills: ​at baimfilms.com (opens in new window)
Stream Online: at vimeo (password required)

A look at the manufacture and design of wallpaper. This film explores the problems and complex intricacies which are not widely known but provide some interesting viewing.

Title and Credits:
Introducing Alan (pick of the Pops) Freeman, who tells you what goes on...

Photographed in Eastmancolor & Scope by:  Alan Pudney
Research:​ J. Yates
Edited by:​ Peter Vincent
Music : De Wolfe
Recordists:​ Cyril Brown, Peter Kaye
Processed by:​ Rank Laboratories, Denham, England
Directed by: Paul Weld Dixon
Produced by: Harold Baim


The Egyptians did it and still do. The French did it and they still do. The Chinese did it almost before anyone else, and what the Chinese did has been copied through the centuries. Copied by man, who has always wished to delight his eyes with colour.

Nature shows the way in the myriad hues of flowers, the blue of the sea and sky, the green of the fields and trees, the gold of the dawn and the crimson of the sunset. And in all the colours of the rainbow.

Man cannot live without colour, and in the home, it would be unthinkable to be without decoration of one sort or another. Even murals of the kind depicted here and being executed by a famous artist, Leonard Rosoman, have their places in the decorative scheme of things.

Paint, tapestries, murals, silks and carpets are used to embellish the home, but pride of place without doubts is held by wallpaper. Chinese culture dates back thousands of years, but it was the ingenuity of a few European craftsmen in the Middle Ages who handed down their skills which, through the years were adapted to the ruling taste of each particular era.

But today, designers must have inspiration. Where does it come from? He could find it in the decorative cork of a matchbox. In soap bubbles. In looking through the branches of trees in winter. Or in an ordinary fence.

Ideas are, to the imaginative mind, almost everywhere. Though to translate an idea into terms of artistic design is quite another matter. But to the draftsman, to the painter, and to the creative mind, though not easy, it can, and indeed is done.

The pricing room is one of the nerve centres of the manufacturing process. The finished designs are considered chosen or rejected by executives who have acquired a sixth sense as to what the trends are likely to be and what will please people most. Decisions are taken as to whether colour combinations or the design are the best possible. The marketing press, the number of rolls to be manufactured and the weight of paper to be used.
A designer is given full rein, but the commercial aspect must enter so that the benefits can be passed on to the consumer.

What you have already seen would be completely pointless if there was no paper so, our story really begins with the fascinating process of paper making. Raw pulp is mixed with water, and because of its look and consistency is called porridge.

Without water, there would be no paper.

At this very point, the wet pulp is changed into paper. Can you see it? Wet pulp on the right, roller in the middle. And hey presto! Paper on the left. If that isn't magic, I'd like to know what is.

And through these drums, the paper is dried.

At this end of this amazing machine, the finished paper is being wound up.

This ingenious machine slices the huge rolls into smaller rolls of wallpaper width.

Sometimes everything does not go just right. The paper breaks and though quite spectacular, it is knowhow that's needed to start the roll rolling regularly once again.

We've all spent hours poring over pattern books. There always seems to be too many appealing designs, and it is very difficult indeed to make a final choice.

Pattern books are one way of reaching a choice decision. But if one prefers to see more of the design, then this is the other way.

Here, a greater length of pattern can be seen and an idea of what a paper might look like between those four walls.

Remember the designers? Well, every one of these papers was once an original idea. The people seem to run true to type when it comes to choosing wallpaper. Tastes differ enormously. What one person will be delighted with another will think is horrible.

A practical man, we all know him, the solid citizen, chooses neutral papers. Nothing too spectacular. Nothing too extreme.

Quite unlike the type who champions the cause of “let's dare to be different”. They like bold, striking designs. I suppose a student of psychology would say that the personality of a person can be seen in the choice of home decoration.

Too bold for even their personality? This is what was chosen, finally.

The modern buildings of today were planned by architects who move with the times.

These architects are very often interior designers too. Their professional advice is much sought after for the decoration of the inside of buildings, be they offices, stores or homes.

But old ideas die hard. Some people still feel they must have roses in the bedroom, trains in the children's room, panelling in the hall. This, in the kitchen. Fish in the bathroom, and in the living room, of course, damasks. They never, ever change design. Only perhaps the colour scheme.

Colour schemes could not exist unless the printing paint was blended correctly. And here the basic colour vats with their independent mixer units. From these basic colours eventually come hundreds of different shades. The secret is in the blending together of different tones. Watch.

A sample of the final mixture is taken and matched to the original piece of master paper. In this way, the exact continuity of colours is preserved from day to day, month to month.

Popular magazines invariably give advice on home decor, and the professional decorator is usually a man who is a craftsman to his fingertips. His apprenticeship is a long one, and in order to graduate in his field, he must be an absolute master of his art.
There are certainly tricks in this trade.

In this day and age, however, the more ambitious spirits like to do it themselves. They usually learn through their mistakes.

See what I mean, she has really gummed up the works. Unless you apply the paste properly, well, all you have done is ruin a perfectly good roll of paper.

This is how, paper square with the edge of the table, brush out fanwise off the edge. This is the way to fold it over and reposition it so that the end of the length can be pasted. Practice makes perfect.

All she has to do now, and I use the well-known expression, is to stick it on the wall. That's all.

What a mess. Oh, no. You can't push it into position. It just won't go. Now, let's see if her husband can do it properly. Of course he can. But girls, don't be upset. He happens to have had a great deal of practice. He used to make exactly the same mistakes. Anyhow, this is the correct way, and he makes an almost perfect job of it.

After a little practice, anyone can do this. And what a terrific sense of achievement it gives.

The machine printing room roars on, turning out wallpapers of every conceivable design in millions and millions of yards.

See the way the rollers pick up the colours and print the design onto the paper?

Back to our young couple who seemed to be working very well indeed.

The tricky corner at the window is being negotiated successfully, having marked it off with a pencil and then using the scissors. You'll be able to go right home and do this after watching her.

In everything preparation is necessary. Before one can even think of decorating a room walls must have perfect surfaces, and all imperfections must be removed. The paste, too, must be of just the right consistency. Much too thin. If it doesn't run off the brush, then it should be of the correct thickness.

Well, she seems to have finished off the window very well indeed. They can be proud of their handywork. There's something about doing a job yourself which gives enormous and well-earned satisfaction.

We have come a long way since ancient times. We have progressed. Through knowledge and ingenuity, man's inventiveness has paid dividends in comfort and gracious living.

And whether you live in a house like this one, in an apartment like this, or in a country cottage, thanks are due to those whose chosen work makes our life more colourful and our homes more pleasant, between those four walls.

[End Credit]

All music should be cleared with 

De Wolfe Music 
Queen’s House 
180-182 Tottenham Court Road