Revisit Havana, the “Paris of the Caribbean,” in the 1930s

This short film show­ing Havana in the 1930s was shot by André de la Varre, the long-time cam­era­man and cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er for Amer­i­can trav­el­er, pho­tog­ra­ph­er and film­mak­er Bur­ton Holmes. In those days, Havana was a flour­ish­ing and fash­ion­able city dubbed the “Paris of the Caribbean,” attract­ing an ever increas­ing num­ber of tourists. André de la Var­re’s film por­trays Havana as the “exot­ic cap­i­tal of appeal,” which pret­ty much sums up its essence dur­ing those days.

Bonus mate­r­i­al: A list of all the sights shown in this film can be found here; anoth­er short film about Havana in the 1950s hereThis video from late 2008 gives an idea of the sor­ry state of Havana’s city cen­ter today. And don’t foget to mar­vel at the won­der­ful col­lec­tion of vin­tage trav­el films at The Trav­el Film Archive.

By pro­fes­sion, Matthias Rasch­er teach­es Eng­lish and His­to­ry at a High School in north­ern Bavaria, Ger­many. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twit­ter.

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Comments (4)
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  • Mark says:

    The “sad state”? The sad state of Havana occurred dur­ing the impe­ri­al­ist rules of the Span­ish and the Unit­ed States.

  • Lesley says:

    Fas­ci­nat­ing film. Most inter­est­ing to see La Habana dur­ing the Amer­i­can ‘inter­est’ in Cuba. How many Amer­i­can stat­ues have been removed and traces of the U.S. since Cas­tro and Che’s rev­o­lu­tion. Sad, nos­tal­gic film. Poor Cuba is still evolv­ing — I hope towards hap­pi­er, more pros­per­ous times for its cit­i­zens… Cuba is la isla muy lin­da and her brave peo­ple deserve much bet­ter lives.

  • Fina says:

    Sad to see that so many peo­ple do not under­stand the true mean­ing of evo­lu­tion. Les­ley is right in say­ing that the Cuban peo­ple deserve a bet­ter, more pros­per­ous life. Unfor­tu­nate­ly through the tun­nel vision of this last com­men­ta­tor I can see that some do not learn from his­to­ry. We all need cap­i­tal­ism to flour­ish. Cer­tain­ly not a dic­ta­tor­ship govt like Cas­to’s.

  • avram gur arye says:

    fina does­n’t seem to real­ize that Cap­i­tal­ism enslaves it ‘s cit­i­zens with cor­rupt gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate rule. All is cor­rupt in D.C. REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT does not exist in DC or in our cities. D.C. takes our tax mon­ey and spends it on war. Low wages will just mean we pay less in tax­es, there­fore, D.C. soon won’t be able to wage war with­out bank­rupt­ing the nation. Viva, low wages. Thumbs down for our gov­ern­ment. When we make our cities more demo­c­ra­t­ic, D.C. will have to change or they will remain use­less. Change our cities now! Get involved in your city’s gov­ern­ment. Save your cities from cor­rup­tion and it.s con­se­quent uneth­i­cal behav­ior!

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