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November 9, 2009 6:16 AM   Subscribe

The Open Road London pioneering colour footage from 1927 (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (15 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I really, really enjoyed that. Thank you for posting it.

Something striking to me that I never would have considered without this link: in my mind, a brown-brick facade characterizes the high street of most English towns and villages. London has always seemed to look much different. At several points in this video I saw views that really looked like the same buildings as in a village, just bigger and more densely packed. The reshaping of London after the Blitz is remarkable.
posted by jefficator at 6:33 AM on November 9, 2009

Glorious. Thanks.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:43 AM on November 9, 2009

This was shown as part of the BFI screening held in Trafalgar Square during their London Moves Me evening. We're having a mild autumn right now so having so many Londoners watching an outdoor screening of London transport in the heart of London itself had a strangely magical quality to it. The silent movies were scored by a live pianist who did a fabulous job of maintaining pace and tone with the old footage as it progressed up to films with their own soundtracks.

In stark contrast to The Open Road was Yohan Forbes' "Project One", a skateboard ride through the City from the Thames Barrier up to the South Bank where all the skateboarders hang out which he made on a shoestring budget.
posted by Molesome at 6:55 AM on November 9, 2009

I was half-expecting the cop in the last shot to have a dialog card saying:

"What's all this then?"

I really dig old footage like this. Thanks.
posted by chambers at 7:00 AM on November 9, 2009

This was awesome, but I suggest turning on All Blues to add some good background music when you start.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:01 AM on November 9, 2009

What amazed me was not so much how much has changed (the trolly buses, every single man wearing a suit and a hat) but how much has stayed the same - the London pageantry of Beefeaters and Guardsman. Plus earlier this year I stood in about the exact spot where they shot Trafalgar square and it's just about the same (bar the shop frontages)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2009

London is still so *red*. That dusty brick color is one I associate strongly with London and hey! it was there in the 20s too.
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2009

This is a wonderful find! Just lovely.
posted by piratebowling at 8:10 AM on November 9, 2009

That's amazing. But I kept hoping to see a card like "Stanley Baldwin runs afoul of an Irishman..."
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:44 AM on November 9, 2009

Seconding Mayor Curley. Plus some bright young things doing their things.

Wonderful of course, but what a lost opportunity. I really should have liked a bit more plus ca change than all this plus c'est la meme chose.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:49 PM on November 9, 2009

Why does the clock tower at the Houses of Parliament look different? The roof... the clock? Something.

When I saw this footage this morning I involuntarily exclaimed "wuh!" and watched open-mouthed.

All dead now, of course. Apart from the small girl by the fountain and the child with the peanuts, who might be alive in their mid-eighties. The bright young things would be over a hundred years old.
posted by Grangousier at 3:39 PM on November 9, 2009

Loved it!
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:01 PM on November 9, 2009

Why does the clock tower at the Houses of Parliament look different? The roof... the clock? Something.

The roof looks darker than it does today... there's also kind of a central band, between the two pitched sections (that you can see in this pic) that's lighter but looks totally dark in the footage.

The thing I noticed when I first watched it was how 'sooty' the building was in general, especially the lower walls. Of course the stonework has all been clean/restored since then.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:28 PM on November 9, 2009

There's a definite din of soot coating things there. Nelson's column was surprisingly blackened. Good ol coal days. It was surprising to see everything I saw in 2006 looking relatively the same, minus the Gherkin.
posted by msbutah at 8:27 PM on November 9, 2009

(Is the gherkin popular? I hate it and the ferris wheel more than I can say.)
posted by IndigoJones at 11:08 AM on November 16, 2009

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