Film: 967

Art + Architecture | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Gustave Dore. 1832-1883. A productive and celebrated designer of wood engraved book illustrations of the 19th Century. His engravings of the squalor of London life continue to provide material for social historians. All illustrations - only one short section of moving film at the start 1950's

The film begins with a still shot of a photograph of Gustave Dore. He has dark, receeding hair and a dark moustache. He is wearing a black blazer, black waist-coat, a white shirt and a black bow tie(?). He appears to be holding a pen or pencil, which is just visable.
Cut to a piece of film which shows a small section of a wooden bookcase. On the bookcase are a variety of large, hard-backed books, all embossed with gold on the spines. One, then two hands reach towards the books and carefully take one off the shelf. The book is then opened to reveal the title page: London By Gustave Dore and Blanchard Jerrold.
The rest of the film consists of Dore's images of Victorian London, including; a view of the River Thames with several buildings in the background. A group of men, standing together, waiting/queuing for tea on one side of a counter on the other a man despenses tea from a wall fixed urn. Several images of men and boats on the River Thames follow, some being mended, others waiting to sail. Several images of men and buildings, possibly being built or being used as places of work. Some of these images appear to be of houses/dwellings, with street lamps, groups of people, and ladders which reach platforms on the first floor of the buildings façade. The buildings are tall and the streets narrow. Shots follow of the inside of business/workplaces, the workers dwarfed by the large buildings they are in. A shot of a woman carrying a child, a shawl covers both, as she stands next to a man in an apron who is cutting something on a block. Several people stand around and behind in the shadows. A shot of two women standing on the street. One woman holds a child and the hand of a second, the other woman holds out a very small bunch of flowers for sale to passers by. A shot of a mother holding a child, quite thin in appearance, with shawl wrapped around both who also appears to be selling something. A head and shoulders portrait of a young woman with long, curled hair and a black hat with a very sad look on her face. A long shot of a large group of horse-drawn carriages, men in top hats with women seated, can be seen. A shot of a ballroom/party, the men are wearing top hats, women long, ruffled dresses with hats and fans. A similar shot follows but on grass with a background of large trees. A shot of women on horseback (sidesaddle). They all wear riding dresses and hats. Second shot of a similar image. A panned shot of men and women riding together, possibly a hunt. A shot of groups of people, including children, sitting under the branches of large trees. A shot of a group of sad looking monkeys in a cage, chicken wire in the background. Another shot follows of men and women on horseback, this time with trees and fields in the background. A shot of a street scene showing poorer Londoners; two people sit on the pavement, others stand. They all seem to be carrying bags or possessions.

Two images of race track crowd scenes, one showing rich people the other poor people. A panned shot of race crowds follows and a large group of horses with riders, half way around a track. One horse and rider in the foreground have fallen. A shot of groups of crowds behind a fence, cheering. A large crowd surround a man on a horse; the winning jockey. A shot of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, pans down to reveal several steam powered boats on the Thames. Cut to a shot of an underground train station. A large group of men wait to board the train. A shot of a bridge, crowds of people and horsedrawn vehicals are crossing. A crowded street scene follows, horsedrawn vehicals and padestrians are visable, the shot pans up to reveal a steam train crossing a bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral in the background. A second more detailed image of St. Paul's and surrounding buildings follows. The shot pans down to show some houses/buildings. A wooden bridge passes from one building to another. Several images of street scenes follow. They show large groups of men, women and children, all fairly ragged in appearance, some who carry possessions/objects to sell. Some women stand outside doorways, men stand in groups. A street scene at night follows, men and women stand outside doorways on the street. Cut to three close-up portrait studies, one of an elderly man and woman, one of two young girls/children, and one of a mother breastfeeding her baby. All appear very poor. A shot of two policemen, one shining a torch, as he directs it as a group of vagrants(?) on the street. A shot of three men, one with a torch, as he shines it at a group of women and children lying huddled on beds. A shot of a group of prisoners exercising, walking around in a circle, with high brick walls all around. A shot of two men inspecting some of a group of children. A shot of four/five men in a communal bath, two officials looking on. A shot of a man reading a bible to a group of people who are lying in beds. They are in a dormentary with clean looking sheets on the beds and gas lamps on the wall.

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