Shields is Driven to Succeed
David Shields (Gordon Jackson) comes from a family of farmers, they have worked their Scottish land for generations, but David wants to enter the ship building game. Thanks to his uncle Joe (John Laurie), who persuades his father to let him go, he gets his chance starting off at the bottom of the business as he learns about riveting from Tim Brogan (James Logan) who not only brings him back to where he rents a room but also shows him the sites and scenes of the city, all very different to the quiet life he is use to on the farm. But whilst Tim lives for life after work David is dedicated to doing well and so studies hard whilst working his way up, coming up with design advancements along the way whilst also becoming an item with Mary Anstruther (Rona Anderson), the daughter of the business owner.
"Floodtide" is one of those two for one movies as it has two purposes. On one hand this is a movie to highlight the work of those who worked in the ship building yards, working in the dirt and heat, doing the same job day in day out because it needs to be done and basically living for those hours when they are not at work, often ending up broke very quickly. And it is a solid look at this life but at the same time this is a story of a young man who is driven to be more than he is even if that means not enjoying the pleasures of now in favour of working towards some thing much better, a career as a boat designer. And on top of this there is also a romantic subplot as David ends up becoming close to Mary (Rona Anderson).
The thing is that "Floodtide" is not a complicated movie but it is certainly one which has this wholesome charm with the pleasant nature of the romance working nice alongside the moralistic side of David's desire to succeed by working hard, studying and giving up on instant gratification of the promise of a better future. None of which is even close to be heavy hitting, just a nicely acted drama which leads the audience to think about working for a better future rather than what they can have now whilst not forgetting those they have met along the way. Much of what makes it so charming is that Gordon Jackson makes David such an honest young man, not a total killjoy when it comes to enjoying himself but dedicated to bettering himself and doing the right thing. He also works wonderfully with Rona Anderson who he married two years later and you can see Anderson's eyes sparkle in scenes where she has to stare at Gordon.
What this all boils down to is that "Floodtide" is a nice solid drama which despite being from 1949 still works today with much of that coming from the likeable nature of Gordon Jackson alongside the motivational nature of the story.