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Climbing Borrowdale Fells, Cumbria (1926)

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Published on Jun 23, 2008

This extract comes from Claude Friese-Greene's 'The Open Road' - originally filmed in 1925/6 and now re-edited and digitally restored by the BFI National Archive. Britain seen in colour for the first time was heralded as a great technical advance for the cinema audience - now we can view a much improved image, but one which still stays true to the principles of the colour process.

The rather haphazard journey from Land's End to John O'Groats creates a series of moving picture postcards. Look out for shots containing the component colours - red and blue-green - such as when a little girl in a red coat and hat walks among peacocks in the grounds of a castle, and three girls with red curly hair pose by the sea at Torquay.

The car is a Vauxhall D-type - considered a sporty model at the time. A long-distance journey by car was a relatively new concept, with none of the amenities en route now taken for granted. The visit to a petrol station shows smoking on the forecourt: no health and safety issues back then! The travelogue ends with a series of recognisable London landmarks. Much remains the same - one major exception being the volume of traffic on the roads. (Jan Faull)

For more information about 'The Open Road' see http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/openroad/

To buy the DVD click here - http://www.bfi.org.uk/filmstore

You can watch the whole of 'The Open Road' and 1000 other complete films and TV programmes from the BFI National Archive free of charge at the new BFI Mediatheque - http://www.bfi.org.uk/mediatheque

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