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‘Close’ Friends

Still from Close Friends

Date produced: 1965

Filmmaker(s):

Philippa Miller

Description:

'Silent film shot by Miss Philippa Miller recording scenes of people and activities around the 1930s-style bay-fronted terraced houses and gardens in a small residential close at different seasons of the year. Miss Miller lived in Norwich so the film has provisionally been linked to Norwich, but identification of the location would be welcome. The film captures the relaxed and friendly relationship between the women, men and children filmed and Miss Miller behind the camera. From the film stock marks it appears that the film was shot between 1965 and 1967.

All but two of the scenes are filmed outdoors. Indoors we see four women sitting together looking at two boxed costume dolls and stroking a black poodle, and a brief scene of an elderly lady. The exterior scenes were filmed during winter, spring and summer and capture people's activities and domestic chores around their homes and gardens, their comings and goings, and various pet dogs. Scenes include: women clearing a path through snow; a row of ten sparrows on a ledge above a snowy roof; a man washing a car with cloth and bucket of water as laundry billows on a washing line; a woman dressed to go out in hat and coat carrying bags; children playing with a dog, a football, a toy pram and a toy tractor; a bride in white outfit with bouquet standing with a man, perhaps her father, and a woman chauffeur in peaked cap helping people into a car as they leave for a wedding; crocuses; another man washing a car; a boy on a tricycle; a knife grinder at work, operating his machine by treadle within a handcart with large wheels; a man mowing the lawn a man painting the front gate of a spring garden; a young man and woman; a man up a ladder cleaning windows; women with two children in matching coats; a house under construction with the timber frame of the upper storey and roof open; a woman hanging out sheets on a washing line; a woman shaded beneath a floral parasol standing in front of flowering rose bushes; a woman setting off on a bicycle; a woman holding a baby; children sitting on a lawn and playing with modelling clay; a young man; a woman at a window; a chaffinch; rose bushes; another lady dressed in hat and coat with bag going out; a woman playing ball with the black poodle; a man using an axe to chop at the roots in a hole around a tree stump' (EAFA).


[Spruyt Family Film]

Date produced: 1930

Filmmaker(s):

J. F. Spruyt

J. F. Spruyt

Description:

"The Spruyt's film of their children was made with a particular purpose in mind. In Holland the venerable Dutch grandparents of the children were to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary and particularly wanted their three sunny haired grandchildren with them for the occasion. Since such a journey could not be made at that time, the film was planned. After an easy introduction into the life of the children, we see them in secret conclave planning a special "surprise" for their grandparents across the sea. As the plot thickens, a secret paper is involved and, after a glorious birthday party of the youngest, there comes the denouement. The children have prepared a scroll, bearing the family's greetings to the distant relatives. With the scroll was sent the film giving the story of its preparation. This ingenious continuity was carried out with excellently chosen and varied camera angles and consistently good photography. Most notable are the many child portrait shots." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.


1928 Greater Brighton Celebrations Duke and Duchess of York at the Royal Pavilion and Carnival Procession of Decorated Vehicles

Date produced: 1928

Filmmaker(s):

Harold Preston

Sidney Preston

Description:

"Members of the Preston family enjoying the carnival celebrations at Greater Brighton, in 1928. Various activities are seen taking place on the beach, seafront, streets and promenade. Includes shots of a jazz band performing outside; people driving miniature cars around a small race track and a woman playing on a one-armed bandit machine. Also includes footage of the Duke and Duchess of York's visit to the Royal Pavilion." (NWFA Online)


Adirondack Adventure

Date produced: 1935

Filmmaker(s):

Frank E. Gunnell

Description:

"One of the most difficult of amateur subjects, a record of a child's vacation, is presented most ably in Adirondack Adventure, by Frank Gunnell, ACL. The photography was a joy to behold and showed quite clearly that a great deal of care and experience was back of it. Fine outdoor lighting, which made the most of every scene, predominated. The continuity of this competent picture was developed in such a fashion as to feature Mr. Gunnell's small son naturally and unobtrusively. Incidents which make up the picture are handled clearly and yet with a light touch. Only a movie maker would appreciate the fact that the sequences were far from casual but, instead, were staged carefully. The real charm of a summer vacation has been preserved in this fine picture." Movie Makers, Dec. 1935, 534.


African Life

Date produced: 1947

Filmmaker(s):

Julian Gromer

Description:

"Details a journey from New York to Lagos and beyond the interior of Nigeria. Footage includes shots of daily traditional life in the village and concludes with a battle scene between two tribes brandishing spears and bows and arrows." Chicago Film Archives


African Prince, The

Date produced: 1947

Filmmaker(s):

Julian Gromer

Description:

"Silent film set in a small African village. The King takes his young son, the Prince, on a journey to teach him lessons on how to be a great leader by showing appreciation and care for the people they rule. The King guides the Prince to help care for the ill suffering from leprosy, learn skills like farming the land, making clothing and building shelter, and enrolls him in school to get an education and learn religion. The film shows many skills and medical processes of African villagers in detail from start to finish." Chicago Film Archives


Amy Norman

Date produced: 1935

Filmmaker(s):

Charles Powell

Description:

"Celebrate the wedding of Amy Norman, visit Belle Vue Zoo,and meet the Powell family, with their own animals, in their garden. A view of Manchester Central Library and the Town Hall Complex precedes cricketing scenes at Bowdon, and finally, a family trip (in colour) to Nefyn in North Wales, where young and old alike enjoy the sun and sea. The Powell family lived in East Didsbury in South Manchester.Manchester Central Library was quite new when this film was shot. It was opened in 1934 by George V, and in 2014 re-opened after refurbishment for its 80th anniversary." (BFI Player)


An Anaesthetic Fantasy

Date produced: 1940

Filmmaker(s):

Ernest H. Kremer

Description:

"When Ernest Kremer wanted to make a film which would include his family and, at the same time, be entertaining to outsiders, he devised An Anaesthetic Fantasy, an ingenious tale of the nightmare of a dental patient under laughing gas. The patient imagines that he returns home, and there things begin to happen that confound him and the audience, too. Clever trick work, dissolves and stop motion are used to create this section of the film. Mr. Kremer has proved that the 8mm. worker need not bow to his 16mm. brothers when it comes to producing cine illusions. The film was presented with a delightfully appropriate selection of musical records played on a dual turntable outfit." Movie Makers, Dec. 1940, 601-602.


And How!

Date produced: 1927

Filmmaker(s):

Russell T. Ervin

Description:

"This proved to be an unusual serio-comedy, telling of a restless young husband and how he was cured. It was very well acted by Alfred Fontana as the husband, Margaret Ervin as the vamp, Anne Howe, and Beatrice Traendly as the wife. The directon of Russell T. Ervin Jr. was remarkably good, revealing an unusual facility for telling a story concisely and quickly. Then too, he understood how to cover any histrionic imperfections of his cast. 'And How!' is a suprisingly neat amateur film" Photoplay, June. 1928, 66


Another Happy Day

Date produced: 1936

Filmmaker(s):

T. Lawrenson

Description:

"Another Happy Day" was the winner in the home movie classification, the prize going to T. Lawrenson of Dundee, Scotland. Mr. Lawrenson is a member of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers of London. Also is he a veteran of the American Cinematographer's contests, having been one of the three major prize winners of 1935. Also is the chief actor in the home movie a veteran, a child who now has reached seemingly the mature age of four years, and who of course was but two when he made his debut on the home movie stage in 'Happy Day.' He is a black-eyed, camera-unconscious and personable youngster, who proceeds on his lawful occasions in complete indifference to a live lens." American Cinematographer, Jan. 1938, 27.


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