Fascinating travelogue from 1924 of a road trip from Land's End to John O'Groats. In 1924, Claude Friese-Greene, son of film pioneer William, undertook to record on film a car journey covering the length of Britain. Mainly concieved as an ideal marketing tool for his nascent colour film process, whereby alternate frames were tinted red and blue/green, Greene's journey brought the countryside to life, revealing natural colour to an audience used to black and white. Originally intended to be shown weekly in cinemas, the 26 short episodes combine to form a unique social document of life in Britain between the wars. Now digitally restored by the BFI, this 65 minute compilation of the highlights is free of the technical faults inherent in the original. Starting in Land's End, Greene's journey takes in Plymouth, a hunt on Exmoor, the docks in Cardiff, and the pleasure beach at Blackpool. In Scotland, Greene records shipbuilding on the Clyde, the banks of Loch Lomond, and Stirling and Edinburgh Castles, before returning to London.
In the summer of 1924 Claude Friese-Greene, a pioneer of colour cinematography, set out from Cornwall with the aim of recording life on the road between Land's End and John O'Groats. Entitled 'The Open Road', his remarkable travelogue was conceived as a series of shorts, 26 episodes in all, to be shown weekly at cinemas.
Sadly his experimental colour process failed to reach a large audience owing to heavy flicker and colour fading. Now the BFI National Archive has restored a special compilation of highlights from the journey, using digital intermediate technology to remove the technical defects of the original.
The result is a fascinating portrait of inter-war Britain, in which town and country, people and landscape are captured as never before, in a truly unique and rich colour palette.
* NEW score by pianist Neil Brand and violinist Gunther Buchwald.
* Across England in an Aeroplane (UK 1919-1920 silent).
DVD/PAL/Colour/64 mins/Full Screen, 1:33:1/Silent with Music.