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February 04, 2010

The Open Road London (1927)

Stunning colour film of 1920s London.

This wonderful film was made in 1927 by Claude Friese-Greene. Colour film from the 1920s is exceptionally rare, and this is a very powerful example.

It shows scenes of London Bridge, the Thames, the Tower of London, Greenwich Observatory, the London docks, Whitehall, the Cenotaph, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Petticoat Lane, the Oval, the Changing of the Guard, Rotten Row, and the Houses of Parliament.

The Cenotaph sequence from around 3:37 to 3:54 is very poignant. This was filmed only nine years after the end of the Great War. The women and looking at the wreaths would very likely be wives and mothers of the men killed, and the Second World War was, at that time, inconceivable.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 4, 2010 08:23 AM


Notice the lack of motor-vehicle traffic in the streets. Compare to London today. In 1927, London had a population approaching 8 million - how did they get around? Yes, certainly "The Open Road".

Posted by: Alan Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2010 06:34 PM

This is a real treat. I am wishing I could step through the monitor and walk those streets.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 5, 2010 10:50 AM