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Published on Jul 31, 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)