Tag Archives: Newsreels

Latest Obsession: British Pathé


Imagine a film archive that preserves some of the great accomplishments and most tragic and  notable events of Western civilization in the 20th century. The British Pathé Archive, a sprawling collection of news pieces from the early 20th century though the 1970s, made an extraordinary number of newsreels and Cinemazines (longer versions of their newsreels). All 90,000 of their films are available to view online for free.

Enter through the archive’s blog to view archive highlights and read writers remark on the historical films. What stole my heart were the human interest stories. These good humored exposés capture Britian’s sometimes quirky culture.

The progression of film type and quality -the earliest are silent- reflects the changing technology of the moving image. Clips are organized by categories like Lifestyle & Culture, Historical Figures & Celebrities, and War & Revolution. Rare footage includes digitized films and stills of archaeological digs, reporting from both World Wars, the women’s rights movement, and scientific and technological breakthroughs. The British Pathé Archive is on Pinterest too, where I know I’ll be spending many hours as I hibernate this winter.

Some selections from the library I’ve recently watched:

Amelia Earhart, aka “Lady Lindy,” landing in London to a crowd’s welcome.

A poodle spends her afternoon at the beauty salon.

The strange superstitions of the Isle of Man including the “Fairy Bridge” where visitors greet the secret fairies for good luck.

Tea time on a tight rope, this stunt never gets old.

Images from The British Pathé on Pinterest.

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