Film: 5876

London | 1980 | Sound | Colour + B/W

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Synopsis:

Chris Kelly and John Huntley talk about the way film makers have used the River Thames in London in their productions 1980's

Entire programme hosted from a pleasure boat cruising up the River Thames (which belonged to Paul Raymond).

Straight into colour film clip from 1970 feature film "Perfect Friday" with Stanley Baker, Ursula Andress and David Warner. Shot of a boat trip from under Westminster Bridge. Three unsmiling people have a meeting.
Back to modern day with shot of Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the sun from a boat passing under Westminster Bridge. Pan around to Clapperboard presenter Chris Kelly sitting at stern of pleasure boat. Red Ensign flag flutters behind him. Kelly talks of film made 75 years before when Robert Paul filmed the London County Council paddle steamer service.
B/w archive film of Thames sailing barges from 1905. Paddle steamer. Tug.
Colour. Kelly introduces John Huntley, who is a regular Clapperboard guest and Reader in Film at Sussex University. Kelly and Huntley sit at white plastic table and discuss Robert Paul’s film of 17th June 1905, the date of the formal opening of the L.C.C. steamboat service. Two men having an interesting discussion about paddle steamer journeys to Greenwich and the return by train. John Huntley’s hair is very long and blows about a bit.
B/w archive from 1905 again. The Royal party boarding boat at Westminster Pier. It is raining and an umbrella is evident. Paddle steamers on Thames. The Royal party at Greenwich. The future George V mounting steps. He acknowledges man by removing his top hat. The Prince of Wales mounts a train. Tram with leaves in shape of Prince of Wales feathers on the front.
Colour. Nine Elms Cold Store where Covent Garden moved to. Clip from 1973 feature film "The Optimists of Nine Elms" featuring Peter Sellers. He sings and plays a banjo outside Fulham Football Ground, Craven Cottage - solely of the crowd as they get animated and clap in unison. Sellers and children walk alongside Thames. The little boy wears a football rosette.
Back to Chris Kelly and John Huntley. They pass under a bridge - Chelsea Suspension Bridge. Talk of the Festival of Britain Gardens at Battersea. They talk of film making and 3-D films, whereby people wore special glasses. Dennis Foreman of Granada is mentioned in context of national Film Theatre.
Clip from "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" b/w 1961. The funfair at Festival Gardens. Various rides, water splash, dodgems. Man and boy climb out of dodgem car and run towards entrance for ghost train.
Chris Kelly introduces a second clip in which fog rolls up the River Thames to envelop Chelsea Bridge. Newspaper headlines read "Britain at 95 degrees". Foghorns. Ed Judd and Janet Monroe star in the film.
Colour. Chris Kelly and John Huntley under Albert Bridge. Chris Kelly introduces a clip from colour 1955 Ealing comedy "Touch and Go".
In film, man attempts to rescue cat from pier of Albert Bridge.
Colour - modern day. High rise housing in background and houseboats of Chelsea beached on the mud of the River Thames. Very wind-blown John Huntley says he thinks people began to settle on houseboats about the time of the Festival of Britain. Good views of houseboats.
Colour clip from feature film showing Alec Guinness as reprobate artist on the Thames. Guinness's character Gulley Jimson takes his river houseboat for a cruise down the Thames in "The Horse's Mouth", 1958.
Colour Chris Kelly and John Huntley. John Huntley talks about the Lots Road power station in Chelsea. Good shot of it with two remaining chimneys. John Huntley tells an Anthony Asquith story. B/w archive still photograph of the Chelsea Power House from the river.
B/w clip from 1928 silent film "Underground", directed by Anthony Asquith. Good shore scene over roof of the power station. Men confer inside and run in separate directions. Man is pursued on roof. Two men roll down slope as they wrestle. The river and bridge as good backdrop. Good melodramatic stuff! One man tries to strangle other. Man runs off. He is chased and about to be trapped. He climbs down a rope outside the building. Other man follows. At bottom the man who is pursued leaps into a bucket hanging from a crane. The chaser does the same but falls off into the River Thames.
Colour. Tracking shot over bows of ship to sunny River Thames at Putney. John Huntley and Chris Kelly talk about the boat race course. Earliest surviving film dates from 1911.
B/w film from 1911. Boat crews emerge from boat house. Teams, Oxford and Cambridge rowing in University Boat Race. The judges’ boat following the race boats.
Colour of Chris Kelly and John Huntley as Chris Kelly talks of feature film "Robbery" (1967) with Stanley Baker and Frank Finlay in clip from colour feature. Baker and Finlay talk on banks of the River Thames at Putney.
Chris Kelly talks to camera and signs off part one of programme as boat passes lock on right hand bank.
Gently tracking shot up round part of River Thames, West London. Trees on both sides of river. (27 minutes)

Immediately spliced together is the second half - the following week’s programme.
Point of view from boat as it passes under a bridge.
Chris Kelly talks straight to camera about the cottage film industry and that there were at least nine film studios between Westminster and Teddington Lock. Chris Kelly introduces John Huntley. Talk of Cricks and Martin Studios. Also the Riverside Studios.
Archive b/w clip from The Seventh Veil with James Mason and Ann Todd, dating from 1945.
Colour - passing the Riverside Studios, passing under bridge. Mortlake Brewery. Talk of 1931 Boat race when Oxford boat sank.
B/w clips of bad weather on River Thames. Choppy conditions and flooding on the River banks. Some of the rowing. Cambridge in the lead. Oxford behind caught in lots of spray. Judges boat has sign on "NO RACE". The boat sunk in the water and floating upside down.
Colour of Chris Kelly and John Huntley. Talk of 1978 Cambridge sinking.
1978 University Boat Race. Cambridge sink. Lots of spray kicked up. Judges boat. The crew sitting in boat as it sinks. Oxford row to finish and muted Oxford celebrations.
John Huntley and Chris Kelly at Kew Bridge and talk of studios at Kew Theatre.
B/w film of George Robey preparing for pantomime dame costume. He makes up and demonstrates mannerisms. His usual costume - rather Chaplin-esque and accidentally hits himself on the nose with his cane.
Colour: Chris Kelly and John Huntley as they pass under bridge.
B/w archive of Thames floods in 1924 filmed by Walter West. Boy cycles bicycle through water. People row boat where bank would have been. Postman wades through water to deliver letter to woman standing on her front steps. Panorama of flooding.
Colour of John Huntley and Chris Kelly. John Huntley talks and indicates where Homelands Studio would have been. Now, pleasure boats are moored on the bank. John Huntley talks of Billy Merson. Chris Kelly asks John to sing a bar or two of "The Spaniard Who Blighted My Life". John declines (thank God!)
B/w of Billy Merson singing accompanied on his miniature guitar. Includes the wonderful line, "For I’ll raise a bunion on his Spanish Onion". Colour of John Huntley talking about Lupino Lane, another successful Homelands performer.
B/w of "Bending Her" a cod on 1925 Ben Hur. Lupino Lane is frog-marched by a Roman centurion to a room where wealthy Romans laugh. One commands Lane to wrestle. Centurion indicates huge man Lane must wrestle. He snarls and displays bad teeth. Lane’s head-dress plume revolves on his helmet. Under threat of centurion’s sword, Lane fights. He rides wrestler around floor. Wrestler stands up with Lane on his back, not knowing he is there. Lane pokes wrestler. Now wrestler is annoyed! He flips Lane to the floor and repeatedly picks him up and pushes him down by the head. All of the rich Romans indicate death by turning thumbs downwards. Gag where Lane has a squashed nose - trick done by pressing face to piece of glass. Lane tries to throw wrestler over his shoulder, fails and does a somersault. Wrestler flings Lane in air and on landing he knocks man into pool. He has shrunk and is now a dwarf.
Colour of John Huntley talking of the Kellino family.
B/w of "A Fete in Venice" a very spectacular body juggling act. Strong men toss people round on their feet. Boy buys ice cream from ice cream vendor. Somersaults and tumbling performed. Handstands in the air. After much good juggling of people, the pay off is when man is thrown into small tub balanced on man’s feet.
Colour of John Huntley talking to Chris Kelly, about Fred Karno and his troop.
B/w of Fred Karno party in open air. Harry Champion entertains troops. First World war convalescent soldiers entertained. Soldiers sit at tables and are waited on.
Colour of John Huntley as they pass Eel Pie Island in Twickenham where Phoenix had a studio between 1912 and 1918. Chris Kelly talks and reads from article in the Kinematograph and lantern Weekly for April 22nd 1915 about how film "White Slavery" cannot cause offence. John Huntley introduces action. Melodramatic chase.
B/w clip from the film. Two bad men in little steam launch approach houseboat. Man uses grappling hook whilst other man carries prostrate form of girl onto houseboat. As small boat leaves, hero is seen preparing to climb onto houseboat. The almost unconscious girl is tied to a chair by man as the other man and a woman watch. Another girl is in the room, also tied to a chair. Hero climbs onto boat. He climbs up spiral staircase and knocks a bottle off a table - "AN UNFORTUNATE BUNGLE". Chief baddie clasps his hand over girl’s mouth and hands revolver gun to accomplice. Hero runs and dives off boat. He emerges in river weeds.
Colour of Chris Kelly and John Huntley. They pass by housing on Eel Pie Island.
B/w clip from "Slavers of the Thames" again. Man swims to pole in the river. River police in row boat rescue him. Three police and hero arrive at houseboat to attempt rescue. Three police overcome accomplice. Chief baddy dives off roof and is pursued by hero. Bad woman is alerted by noise, runs upstairs and is captured. Hero overcomes villain and helps him into police rowing boat. The villains handcuffed together leave the houseboat. Tied up girls (now there are four of them) are rescued. It does not look as if the ropes were securely tied. Hero hugs girl. Girls are helped out of boat. [Useful if trying to illustrate "white slave trade"]
Colour of Chris Kelly and John Huntley at Teddington. Weir House Studios discussed - an early propaganda studio established in First World War.
B/w of Ellen Terry in 1918 film "The Invasion of England". Also features Josie Collins. Story is that woman has to let her younger son go to war, her father and husband already having been killed. Soldier with rifle enters room. Mother clings to him. Close up of telegram or letter saying elder son has been killed.
External shot of marching bagpipe bands as troops are waved off to war. Mother kisses her boy good-bye and weeps on his chest. Good tear-jerking stuff. She is overcome with grief as he leaves and sees him to the door. Troops march along railway station terminus platform. Ellen Terry collapses. Serious drama!
Colour of John Huntley talking about Seymour Hicks and Ella Laine Terris who introduced pre-World War One dance into Britain.
B/w of them dancing in studio to represent a seaside promenade, he in coat and tails, she in evening dress? Good dance.
Colour of Chris Kelly and John Huntley as Chris Kelly signs off. He talks to camera as Teddington Lock Bridge is nearby. He talks of the thriving Thames Television studios beyond the footbridge. He introduces b/w of various films from before World War One and in the 1920’s of people relaxing and messing about on the river.
B/w film of woman with parasol. She puts it down and steps onto a pleasure boat which moves off. They move off with woman sitting with parasol up. Various boats on River Thames. Edwardians enjoying a Sunday afternoon on the river. Large number of onlookers as lots of small boats enter one of the Thames locks. Lock keeper waits. 1920’s and a lock full of small boats. Cloche hats. Couple row a canopied boat. Man punts a punt.


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