Marvellous Melbourne 1915

An early documentary film about the City of Melbourne, then the interim capital city of Australia. Made in 1910.

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The director Charles Cozens Spencer was famous for his bushranger films: “Captain Starlight” (Robbery Under Arms), “Captain Midgnight – The Bush King”, “The Life and Adventures of John Vane, The Notorious Australian Bushranger”, “Dan Morgan, The Terror of the Australian Bush” (Mad Dog Morgan). He also made the 1915 Film “The Shepherd of the Southern Cross.” He introduced Australia’s greatest silent film-maker, Raymond Longford, to the business. He died in September 1930 (he shot himself after going on a killing spree in Canada).

Special contents of this edition copyright 2010 Shane I Sullivan. Permission to use these items is granted under creative commons licence.

A Trip through Lassen Volcanic National Park 1918

American silent documentary with some pretty good footage of Mt. Lassen in action

This film was made by J.J. Hammer, a resident of Red Bluff, California and was possibly released on 1918 as part of a film on the (then) new Lassen Volcanic National Park. It captures some amazing footage of Lassen Peak steaming and erupting, along with brief glimpses of the summit crater itself. Having film means we can see the volcanic processes that happened during the eruption—no more is it just a single moment captured, like in a still photo.


Sarawak, Malaysia, 1913 ‘wild women’ (orang asli)

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Finally the filmparty meet the women they were searching for in the jungle which they termed ‘wild’ for some reason, may be because they were not too friendly. I understand that the term: wild women is resented now, but it is from an almost 100 years old documentary film. The film tells more about how Westerners were informed about exotic places before WW2 than giving an authentic image. I’m told that orang asli are called pribumi in that country. A few hundred viewers have given their often damaging comments on this 9,5mm silent documentary film (sound track added by me) . The film was heavily damaged and I haven’t seen a similar copy being offered for sale the last decade.The wooden camera used in some instances suggests it was taken long ago. In fact this is one third of a longer documentary film released at the time. I have not been able to find this film in prewar 9,5mm catalogs. The 1932 Wild women of Borneo film is with actors and this documentary is not.
Finally I may refer those who maintain that there were no tigers in Borneo to assertions of zoologists like Gersi, Nieuwenhuis and Abbott that there were at one time. This film is almost a century old.
See my other 1000 clips by searching YouTube with ‘michael rogge’
Website ‘Man and the Unknown’


England, Edwardian Era around 1900


The title says England but it includes scenes from Ireland!

Published on 17 May 2011
This video has been dramatically enhanced in quality, using modern video editing tools. The film has been motion stabilized and the speed has been slowed down to correct speed (from 18 fps to 24 fps) using special frame interpolation software that re-creates missing frames. Upscaling to HD quality was done using video enhancer software.

I have been told that at least part of this film was shot in Cork (Ireland). The music is “Chanson du Soir” and “Arco Noir” from Harvey’s Strings of Sorrow album.

Contrary to some comments, this video was not enhanced by BFI but by me. Various VirtualDub filters were used (deshaker, sharpener, contrast and brightness correction etc.), plus sophisticated frame interpolation software to correct the speed, as will as Infornition software to upscale the quality to full HD.
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Arco Noir (a)
Richard Allen Harvey
Strings Of Sorrow
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Buy it now on Google Play
Chanson du Soir (a)
Richard Allen Harvey
Licensed by
AdRev for Rights Holder, AdRev for a 3rd Party (on behalf of West One Music – West One Music Limited); AdRev Publishing, and 9 music rights societies



New York THEN and NOW

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A comparison between old and present day New York City.

The new photos were taken during April 12th 2014 – April 26th 2014.

New photos, editing and concept by: Cora Drimus

Tennessee-Hans Zimmer
Goodbye-Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

Old photos from:
New York Then and Now, E.B. Watson
New York Then and Now, M. Reiss, E. Joseph……

Shagay, sovet (1926) Forward, Soviet!

A fascinating example of a propaganda as a work of art

Original title: Шагай, Совет!

A.KA.: Stride, Soviet

Director and writer:  Дзига Вертов [Dziga Vertov]

Cinematography: I. Belyakova

Production:   Goskino (Soviet Union)

Year: 1926

The reconstruction of the Soviet Union after the war and the Revolution. The first film by the inventor of Kino-Pravda [Film Truth] and Kino-Glaz [Cine Eye].


Dziga Vertov is an avant-garde Soviet film director and theorist who invented the notion of Film Truth, a type of film-making which had a deep influence on the development of documentaries. As Eisenstein, he was convinced of the importance of montage, believing that the way in which shots were organised together made it possible to make new meanings appear. But he disagreed with the way in which Eisenstein filmed re-enactments of events rather than the facts themselves. From 1922, Vertov started to film his Kino-Pravda [Film-Truth] series, in places such as factories, schools or marketplaces, usually without authorisation and sometimes with a hidden camera, a series of short descriptive rather than narrative vignettes.
The present film was his first full length feature film with a duration of around one hour,  and shows how the Soviets have built a new society on the ruins of the Russian Empire. Vertov adopts a non-chronological thematic approach based on a series of contrasts between the old and the new world: peace opposed to war, construction to destruction, education to religion, decadent entertainment to sport, etc. The stress is on the development of an inclusive society where children, women, sick, handicapped, are fully integrated.

To attract the interest of the viewer, Vertov uses innovative techniques, notably fast or very fast editing, camera movements, reverse motion, cross-fade, multiple exposure and original camera angles.

The result is an impressionist effect with an accumulation of short shots composing a broader image. The use of intertitles is  limited, they are usually very short, giving hints rather than detailed commentaries.

The choice of points of view is very broad and often includes wide shots combined with a series of close-ups showing details in a rapid succession, which allow the viewer to have at the same time a very broad and very detailed view. This technique is applied as well to machines and details of their component, as to crowds and faces of characteristic individuals.

As with Eisenstein, most of the characters shown are anonymous to show that the hero is the people. Only one character is identifiable and named: Lenin, who had died two years before the release of the film. He is shown very briefly at the end of the film. The remarkable closing sequence is a brilliant summary of Vertov’s style. He uses very short shots interspersed with brief intertitles to present the conclusion of the film:  “I remember people at the Soviet speculating on the electrification of the teaching of Lenin by means of lamps” – shots of a meeting followed by close-ups of old people and of a man haranguing the crowd – “It’s difficult to forget” – shots of crowds and close-ups of sad faces, followed by a 3 second shot showing a cameraman filming Lenin’s open coffin, and by ten frames showing his body in his coffin, framed in such a way that his head is not visible. The following contrasting intertitle is addressed to the viewer: “Don’t forget!”  and a series of intertitles interspersed with brief illustrative shots claims that “every bulb, every tool, every new machine perpetuates Lenin’s cause for the construction of a new world”. This is followed by a rapid alternance of shots of machines and workers, vehicles and lights at night, including a three second shot of Lenin haranguing a crowd. The chronological inversion showing Lenin alive after having shown his dead body acts as metaphor of the continuation of his action after his death. The last intertitle makes a reference to the NEP (New Economic Policy) introduced by Lenin for a limited amount of time in 1922,  which marked the return to a more market-based economy in order to foster the reconstruction of the country; it expresses the hope that “Soon, NEP Russia will be Socialist Russia.”

In conclusion, a fascinating example of a propaganda as a work of art. Vertov would continue to polish his style to direct in 1929 his masterpiece, Человек с кино-аппаратом [Man with a Movie Camera].
To view please click on the link below
or shortened version  with English subs
please click on link

1945 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

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The crew of Wayfarer during the 1945 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

The 1945 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was the inaugural running of the annual “blue water classic”, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. It was hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia based in Sydney, New South Wales. The race was initially planned to be a cruise planned by Peter Luke and some friends who had formed a club for those who enjoyed cruising as opposed to racing. The plan was changed, however, when a visiting British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, famously suggested, “Why don’t we make a race of it?”

The inaugural race, like all those that have followed, began on Sydney Harbour, at noon on Boxing Day (26 December), before heading south for 630 nautical miles (1,170 km) through the Tasman Sea, past Bass Strait, into Storm Bay and up the Derwent River, to cross the finish line in Hobart, Tasmania.

The 1945 fleet comprised 9 starters. Of the 9 starters, 8 yachts completed the race. Illingworth’s own vessel, Rani, won the inaugural race in a time of 6 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes.[5]

Peter Luke’s record for longest-ever time to finish the course stands to this day: 11 days, 6hours, and 20 minutes – From Wikipedia