Thursday, 5 November 2015

London! Colour !! 1927!!!


This is extraordinary. Colour film of London shot by the amazingly prescient Claude Friese-Greene in 1927. CF-G struggled to get his Biocolour system adopted, but produced over 60 films including The Open Road, a trip from Land's End to John O'Groats, and this superb example here, restored by the British Film Institute in 2005. More can be learnt from The Magic Box, (1951), a film made for the Festival of Britain, a biopic of Friese-Greene starring Robert Donat.


8 comments:

E Berris said...

This is fascinating - and was it shot at different times -, i.e. summer and autumn? (I think the ladies wear white stockings in the summer??) Thank you for sharing it. S. Berris

Peter Ashley said...

Welcome. I imagine it was shot over quite a period. I particularly like the traffic, vehicles of all kinds weaving in and out of each other.

Biff Raven-Hill said...

Absolutely extraordinary. For some reason it made me feel slightly weepy; don't know whether it was the rather lovely soundtrack or that fact that the colour somehow lent the scenes a modernity and personal quality. Petticoat Lane was my favourite scene - all those people! All those hats. Men should wear more hats. Just gorgeous.

David Gouldstone said...

'The Magic Box' is one of my favourite films, and my favourite scene is the one in which Friese-Greene succeeds in making his moving pictures work for the first time. He hasn't got anyone to show his invention to or share his elation with (it's late at night) so he rushes out into the street to find someone. The only person around is a policeman on his beat; F-G grabs him and bundles the bemused bobby into his lab and replays the film. The PC is flabbergasted; only then do we realise that he is played by Laurence Olivier (his only appearance in the film)!

John Medd said...

What a lovely film. It's probably the only live action footage of England's cricket team during the twenties.

Philip Wilkinson said...

A lovely find. There is something about this that pulls the heart-strings. Perhaps it's the contrast with the quiet of the park and the embankment with the busy streets – that kind of difference is always at the heart of London, I think, and it's moving to see it captured here, in early colour. There's also also the sense that where the streets ARE busy there is still a sense of space.
The sheer AGE of old colour photography (Lartigue's autochromes, for example) is extraordinary and surprising – and the subdued quality of the colour adds to the atmosphere of course. For that matter I still expect footage of World War II to be in black and white and am momentarily shocked when some colour turns up.

Peter Ashley said...

I agree. It's the unexpectedness, the bringing of scenes long ago so much nearer to our time. There is so much to enjoy in this film, with the added bonus that things like this give, that of one's thoughts wandering off from the actual frames into side streets and other lives.

Jon Dudley said...

I saw his bus yesterday plying the streets of Brighton...