|Directed by||Charles Crichton|
|Written by||Louis MacNeice, Stephen Black, Michael McCarthy|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Starring|| Jenny Laird |
|Edited by||Leslie Allen|
|Music by||John Greenwood|
|Distributed by||ABFD (UK)|
Painted Boats (US titles The Girl on the Canal or The Girl of the Canal) is a black-and-white British film directed by Charles Crichton and released by Ealing Studios in 1945. Painted Boats, one of the lesser-known Ealing films of the period, is brief (63 minutes long), uses a little-known cast and has a slight storyline. It is however considered significant by waterways enthusiasts as a fictionalised documentary, providing a rare extensive filmic depiction of a long-gone way of life on England's working canal system in the 1940s. The narration was by Louis MacNeice, including some verse specially written to suit the onscreen action, most notably the sequence in which the narrow boat is being 'legged' through one of the tunnels. Much background information on canals and suggestions for suitable filming locations were provided by the writer L. T. C. Rolt, who also provided the title, and who records in his autobiography that he was disappointed to find that his name had not been included in the film's credits.
Painted Boats focuses on two families living and working on cargo-carrying canal boats: the "traditional" Smiths on their horse-drawn boat and the "modern" Stoners on their motorised vessel. Despite some differences of opinion (Mr. Smith disapproves of motorised boats as he claims they churn up mud and damage canal banks) relations between the families are generally harmonious.
The main plot strand deals with the tentative attraction between Mary Smith and Ted Stoner, despite their differing viewpoints; Mary appreciates the gentle rhythm of traditional canal life, whereas Ted's ambition is to get off the canals and into mainstream life at the earliest opportunity. World War II intrudes when Ted is called up for military service, leaving the future for the pair uncertain.
Location filming took place on the 20-mile stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Stoke Bruerne and Braunston in Northamptonshire, including the Blisworth Tunnel – at 1.75 miles (2.82 km) in length, the third-longest canal tunnel in Britain. Insert shots feature the industrial landscapes of Stoke-on-Trent and the Black Country in Staffordshire, the famous Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales and the Limehouse Cut in London.
A preserved section of the horse-drawn boat Sunny Valley as featured in the film is on display at Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum.
The film premiered on 24 September 1945 at the Tivoli Cinema on the Strand in London, as the second feature in a double bill with the film now known as And Then There Were None . 
The reviewer for The Times found that the film, "absorbs into itself some of the quiet loveliness of the English countryside in war-time. The voyage the boats make on the canals are absorbing to watch in the cinema." 
Joan Mary Waller Greenwood was an English actress. Her husky voice, coupled with her slow, precise elocution, was her trademark. She played Sibella in the 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets, and also appeared in The Man in the White Suit (1951), Young Wives' Tale (1951), The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), Stage Struck (1958), Tom Jones (1963) and Little Dorrit (1987).
The canal network of the United Kingdom played a vital role in the Industrial Revolution. The UK was the first country to develop a nationwide canal network which, at its peak, expanded to nearly 4,000 miles in length. The canals allowed raw materials to be transported to a place of manufacture, and finished goods to be transported to consumers, more quickly and cheaply than by a land based route. The canal network was extensive and included feats of civil engineering such as the Anderton Boat Lift, the Manchester Ship Canal, the Worsley Navigable Levels and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
The Canal Museum, formerly known as the "National Waterways Museum Stoke Bruerne" and "The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne", is a canal museum located next to the Grand Union Canal just south of the Blisworth Tunnel, near the village of Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire. It is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Milton Keynes and 7 miles (11 km) south of Northampton near junction 15 of the M1 motorway.
A horse-drawn boat or tow-boat is a historic boat operating on a canal, pulled by a horse walking beside the canal on a towpath.
The Ealing comedies is an informal name for a series of comedy films produced by the London-based Ealing Studios during a ten-year period from 1947 to 1957. Often considered to reflect Britain's post-war spirit, the most celebrated films in the sequence include Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), Whisky Galore! (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Man in the White Suit (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955). Hue and Cry (1947) is generally considered to be the earliest of the cycle, and Barnacle Bill (1957) the last, although some sources list Davy (1958) as the final Ealing comedy.
Lionel Thomas Caswall Rolt was a prolific English writer and the biographer of major civil engineering figures including Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Thomas Telford. He is also regarded as one of the pioneers of the leisure cruising industry on Britain's inland waterways, and was an enthusiast for vintage cars and heritage railways. He played a pioneering role in both the canal and railway preservation movements.
The canals of the United Kingdom are a major part of the network of inland waterways in the United Kingdom. They have a varied history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution, to today's role of recreational boating. Despite a period of abandonment, today the canal system in the United Kingdom is again increasing in use, with abandoned and derelict canals being reopened, and the construction of some new routes. Canals in England and Wales are maintained by navigation authorities. The biggest navigation authorities are the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency, but other canals are managed by companies, local authorities or charitable trusts.
The Grand Junction Canal is a canal in England from Braunston in Northamptonshire to the River Thames at Brentford, with a number of branches. The mainline was built between 1793 and 1805, to improve the route from the Midlands to London, by-passing the upper reaches of the River Thames near Oxford, thus shortening the journey.
Whilton Locks is the name of a flight of seven locks on the Grand Union Canal near Daventry, in the county of Northamptonshire, England. They are also referred to as Buckby Lock Flight.
Stoke Bruerne is a small village and civil parish in West Northamptonshire, England about 10 miles (16 km) north of Milton Keynes and 7 miles (11 km) south of Northampton.
Blisworth Tunnel is a canal tunnel on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire, England, between the villages of Stoke Bruerne at the southern end and Blisworth at the northern end.
Hue and Cry is a 1947 British film directed by Charles Crichton and starring Alastair Sim, Harry Fowler and Joan Dowling.
Blisworth is a village and civil parish in the West Northamptonshire, England. The West Coast Main Line, from London Euston to Manchester and Scotland, runs alongside the village partly hidden and partly on an embankment. The Grand Union Canal passes through the village and the north portal of the Blisworth tunnel is near Stoke Road.
The Overlanders is a 1946 British film about drovers driving a large herd of cattle 1,600 miles overland from Wyndham, Western Australia through the Northern Territory outback of Australia to pastures north of Brisbane, Queensland during World War II.
Strand-on-the-Green is one of Chiswick's four medieval villages, and a "particularly picturesque" riverside area in West London. It is a conservation area, with many "imposing" listed buildings beside the River Thames; a local landmark, the Kew Railway Bridge that crosses the River Thames and the Strand, is itself Grade II listed. Oliver's Island is just offshore.
Charles Herbert Frend was an English film director and editor, best known for his films produced at Ealing Studios. He began directing in the early 1940s and is known for such films as Scott of the Antarctic (1948) and The Cruel Sea (1953).
Mary Ellen Holloway Amos Ward, BEM was an English nurse to the boat people on the waterways. She was a significant figure in the history of the British canal system.
The Canal & River Trust (CRT), branded as Glandŵr Cymru in Wales, holds the guardianship of 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, together with reservoirs and a wide range of heritage buildings and structures, in England and Wales. Launched on 12 July 2012, the Trust took over the responsibilities of the state-owned British Waterways in those two places.
The Tivoli Theatre of Varieties was a popular English theatre based in the Strand, West London. It was designed by Charles Phipps and was built during 1889–90 at a cost of £300,000. It was constructed on the former site of the Tivoli Beer Garden and Restaurant. In the consortium that financed the project was the actor Edward O'Connor Terry. The hall opened on 24 May 1890 and was located opposite the Adelphi Theatre.
Bill Blewitt was a Cornish postman 'discovered' by film-maker Harry Watt and cast in his 1936 film The Saving of Bill Blewitt. The documentary was about the Post Office Savings Bank and featured Blewitt and the villagers of Mousehole in Cornwall. Assistant director Pat Jackson remembered Blewitt's "mesmeric gift of the gab, a glorious Cornish accent, twinkling blue eyes, a grin as broad as 'Popeye' and the charismatic charm of the Celt." Charles Crichton remembered Blewitt as a natural actor and storyteller.