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Posts Tagged ‘British Pathé Newsreels’

80,000 British Pathé Newsreel Clips Free Online

Monday, May 19th, 2014

British Pathé Newsreel has put up more than 80,000 newsreel clips on YouTube  – all free.

As the site notes, “Pathé News was a producer of newsreels, cinemagazines, and documentaries from 1910 until 1976 in the United Kingdom. Its founder, Charles Pathé, was a pioneer of moving pictures in the silent era. The Pathé News archive is known today as British Pathé. Its collection of news film and movies is fully digitized and available online. Follow us through the 20th Century and dive into the good and the bad times of the past. Feel free to explore more than 80,000 videos of filmed history and maybe you’ll find stuff no one else has ever seen. From next week on you’ll get a new playlists each Monday and Thursday, a special collection of videos we’ve picked out for you. On top of that you’ll get a weekly highlight video every Friday! Look forward to Top Ten lists, special occasions and recent events put into context. Have fun with 3,500 hours of filmed history!”

This is a truly amazing resource; click here, or on the image above, to access the entire library – free!

Radio Caroline’s 50th Anniversary

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Radio Caroline changed the face of pop music.

In the 1950s and 60s, commercial radio and television in Britain were unknown. The BBC — the British Broadcasting Corporation — was the only game in town, a government run enterprise that was commercial free, but much like today’s cable systems, obtained its revenue by requiring anyone who owned a radio or television to pay an annual licensing fee, a practice that continues to this day.

The BBC produced, and continues to produce, excellent television and radio programming, but in the early 1960s, the BBC wasn’t inclined to embrace pop music, and so Radio Caroline, a “pirate” radio station, took up the challenge, and began broadcasting pop music from a ship safely anchored outside the three-mile limit international waters, creating an entirely new style of DJ programming – the “motor mouth DJ” who played as many records as possible during any given hour, sandwiched in between an avalanche of commercials – something that no one in Britain had experienced up until that point.

Teenagers embraced Radio Caroline, which broadcast the latest pop hits from 6AM to 6PM daily, and it isn’t too much to say that it changed the face of radio in Great Britain, much to the BBC’s displeasure. Radio Luxembourg was another “pirate” pop station of the era, broadcasting pop music from that country 24 hours a day, in English, again using manic DJs who played nonstop pop, while also throwing in as many commercials as absolutely possible.

None of this was new to the United States, of course, where radio stations had been commercial from the start, and flagship pop stations of the era, such as WABC (“Radio 77″ – now, sadly, a talk radio station) were instrumental in bringing the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and other British pop acts to national prominence in America.

The pop musician Dave Clark once observed that if you wanted your record to be a hit on Radio Caroline or Radio Luxembourg, you’d better make it short, repetitive, and to the point, as you could estimate that only 45 seconds of your song would actually make it on to the air uninterrupted by commercial pitches at the beginning and end of the disc. But it served as an invaluable service for pop musicians, because it was the only way to get their music before the public — which teenagers would then buy as 45 RPM “singles” in record shops.

And thus it was with pop music in the 60s – relentlessly commercial, frantic in delivery, but opening up an entirely new world for listeners, and signalling the emergence of top 40 pop radio as an international format. It all seems very quaint now, but at the time, it was a revolution.

Click here, or on the image above, to see a 1964 newsreel on Radio Caroline from British Pathé News.

Beatles Newsreel in Technicolor/Techniscope – December 26, 1963

Monday, September 5th, 2011

In this equally interesting item, British Pathé gives The Beatles the deluxe treatment with a newsreel shot in Techniscope (a CinemaScope-style process, using an anamorphic lens for a widescreen image), Technicolor, and, at least for the performance sections, sync sound, documenting a very, very early performance by the group in Manchester.

There’s lots of differences in the structure of this newsreel vs. the Stones newsreel, not the least of which is the clean-scrubbed image the Beatles project, as well as the proscenium arch approach to their performance, seen in the distance on a stage with a large curtain dramatically closing as they end their performance, as opposed to the rather scruffy circumstances that the Stones were obliged to perform in.

You can also see that Pathé sent a whole crew out to shoot this; there’s over-shoulder shots from the stage of the screaming audience, close-ups of the lads in mid-performance, wide shots that take in the entire theater. All in all, this newsreel, rather prosaically entitled “The Beatles Come to Town,” is top-of-the-line treatment for a pop act of the era, and clearly recognizes that the Beatles were soon to become international stars of the first magnitude.

You can view it here; again, click on the button for the fullscreen image.

Rolling Stones Newsreel from 1964

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Here’s a really interesting British newsreel from January 10, 1964 – “Rolling Stones Gather Moss” – documenting a very early ABC cinema concert in Hull, Humberside by The Rolling Stones, when they were still good — and Brian Jones was alive — as photographed by British Pathé News. What’s interesting about this document is that:

*it’s photographed in color, a rare luxury for newsreels of the time;

*it was shot silent, with sound added later; the Stones perform Chuck Berry’s Around and Around, but it’s simply being lip-synced to the existing pre-recorded track; you can clearly hear Ian Stewart’s piano in the mix, and all of the crowd noises and screams are also post-synced;

*the whole film was shot by one cameraman, with one assistant;

*it offers a view of an England that’s long since vanished.

You can view it here; make sure to click on the appropriate button to make the image fullscreen.

About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of thirty books and more than 100 articles on film, and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him at 402.472.6064 or wdixon1@unl.edu. Visit him at his website wheelerwinstondixon.com.

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