Brown And Also Blue
May 8, 2011 9:29 PM   Subscribe

I found two time travellers.
posted by joelf at 10:32 PM on May 8, 2011

Cool! Too bad the video seems to have been interlaced at some point between the original film and YouTube. Also, the youtube comments are priceless as per usual.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:02 PM on May 8, 2011

A bit of browsing tells me that the cinematographer, Sidney Sasson, was the son of a Spanish-speaking (more probably Ladino, i.e, Sephardi) family that came from Greece just before WW1. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that he was a relative of Vidal Sassoon whose family came from Thessaloniki. The Jewish community of Thessaloniki had around 50,000 Jews at its peak; all but a few thousand were murdered by the Nazis.

Sidney Sasson is buried in Calverton National Cemetery, NY, USA.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:41 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I seriously found myself questioning my homosexuality because I found the women all so attractive and wondered if my orientation would be different if I'd been alive then. Then a uniformed soldier walked by and questions were answered.

But it's not a skeezy way. It's just that their joy is so attractive.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:31 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by the cuban at 2:03 AM on May 9, 2011

Just in case you weren't aware, that footage is held at the Imperial War Museum in London. Everyone knows that the IWM is a top-class museum exhibiting machines and other wartime paraphernalia. Not many people know that it is also the oldest operating film archive in the world.

It began collecting material in 1919, once it began to recognise that film would become a key means of documenting war, and therefore required preservation. This was around 15 years before the National Film Archive was set up in the UK under Ernest Lindgren and Iris Barry started acquiring film for the Museum of Modern Art in the US.

It has 'some 20,000 hours of unique moving images' and you can search its online database and arrange viewings on-site. Its earliest films are from the Boer War at the turn of the century, and it still acquires new digital footage from the army, navy and airforce serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As an aside, it has super-cool nitrate vaults in Duxford. These are reinforced concrete bunkers that keep flammable nitrate cool and dry. The IWM and the BFI are the only institutions that can store nitrate film in the UK. If you have any, let them know (pdf).

Its about time that the IWM was recognised for its work preserving moving images, not least because it means we can still see footage like that in the original link. The London Screen Archives is a community of film archives based in the capital, spearheaded by Film London. You can find links to the other partners here.

There were a few colour systems floating around during the 1940s. My favourite is Dufaycolor, such as this avant garde piece of propaganda by Polish filmmakers the Themersons: Calling Mr Smith (sadly, it has been transferred without its colour matrix, so looks black and white).
posted by dumdidumdum at 3:31 AM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

"the youtube comments are priceless as per usual."
posted by BungaDunga

From the youtube comments:

"Lets end this bickering in this video ONCE AND FOR FUCKING ALL:

Each big nation contributed to Germany's defeat. It wasn't "saving asses", it was "teamwork":

The UK gave mainly TIME for the USA and the USSR to prepare as well as shooting down a big bunch of the Luftwaffe.

The USSR gave mainly BLOOD and took the worst fighting, thereby sparing UK and the USA lots of men.

The USA gave mainly MATERIALS and heavily easened the UKs and USSRs pain.

The Japs? UK and USA took them down.
DonkeyKongX2 1 week ago"
posted by marienbad at 4:44 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's sad to know we'll never have peace, nor a celebration like the ones documented here.
posted by MikeWarot at 5:08 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's sad to know we'll never have peace, nor a celebration like the ones documented here.
posted by MikeWarot at 5:08 AM on May 9 [+] [!]

So what you're saying is that you wish that 50 million people would die and that you could go for a couple of years with little food and lose some or all the members of your family and friends so that you could enjoy some good feelings and parties?

That seems a little warped to me. I think perhaps you are idealizing the situation. Is it possible that those people in the pictures didn't feel unbridled joy?
posted by notmtwain at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2011

There's definitely joy there, but the thing that really struck me was how tired everyone looks.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:16 AM on May 9, 2011

notmtwain: I'm pretty sure MikeWarot means that it's sad that, unlike WW2, our wars on terror will just go on forever. So no peace, ever, and no peace celebration, ever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:17 AM on May 9, 2011

Yeah MikeWarot, what are you, some kind of psychopath? 50 million people dead.

Anyway, this is lovely to see. My grandmother would have been working nearby back then, but I don't think I caught a glimpse of her.
It's also nice to see that the Strand, and even Picadilly Circus, have barely changed since then, apart from the shops at street level and a McDonalds or two.
posted by Flashman at 8:51 AM on May 9, 2011

When The Lights Go On All Over The World . This is great footage. My mother would have loved this. She herself celebrated V-J day in Philadelphia, PA and spoke of it nostalgically (they tapped the Liberty Bell on both V-E and V-J day). 26 photos showing VJ day around the world (though a number are NYC), courtesy of Life Magazine.
posted by gudrun at 4:23 PM on May 9, 2011

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