1927 London Shown in Moving Color

Back dur­ing the 1920s, Claude Friese-Greene, an ear­ly British pio­neer of film, shot The Open Road, “a series of ten-minute trav­el­ogues of Britain,” which were meant “to be shown before the main fea­ture in cin­e­ma pro­grammes,” accord­ing to the British Film Insti­tute. Clips from that series have appeared for years on the BFI’s YouTube Chan­nel. But, in recent days, the hive mind of the inter­net has focused on these five min­utes of footage show­ing 1920s Lon­don in rare mov­ing col­or. What draws us to this footage? Per­haps one Vimeo com­menter put it best, say­ing: “Pro­found­ly mov­ing some­how. All those ghosts on film, fore­shad­ow­ing our foot­steps through the same city. Parts of Lon­don remain star­tling­ly unchanged. The mega­lopo­lis was less cor­po­rate then, more impe­r­i­al, cer­tain­ly less sus­pi­cious of the cam­era. But, those pas­tel shades of peo­ple are shown dodg­ing the traf­fic in the same way as we do, per­haps show­ing us a way through the labyrinth.” It’s hard not to stop and take notice when the past seems dis­tant, yet so close and famil­iar.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear the King’s Speech 1938

Ear­ly Exper­i­ments in Col­or Film (1895–1935)

The Nor­mandy Inva­sion Cap­tured on 16 mm Kodachrome Film (1944)

Rare Col­or Footage of the 1939 World Series: Yan­kees v. Reds

by | Permalink | Comments (3) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (3)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • rob says:

    Is it pos­si­ble to find out the music used in the sec­ond half of this piece. The music also appeared on BBC’s Hori­zons series, specif­i­cal­ly the “How Vio­lent are you?” episode, which was fas­ci­nat­ing. I’m hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty find­ing film cred­its for who did this piece. Thanks to any­one.

  • david says:

    The music is Comp­tine D’un Autre Été: L’après Midi by Yann Tiersen from the sound­track to the film Amélie.

  • Brian says:

    Does any know the music at the start of this incred­i­ble film??

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.