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-'Name the faraway place and Pathe pictorial's been there.
'You can't get much farther away than this,
'the Jhelum River in remote Kashmir, Punjab country,
'where the only road that exists is this waterway,
'this is the country's floating marketplace.'
For more than 60 years the newsreel company Pathe
captivated British cinemagoers by distributing film travelogues
that featured ravishing images from all over the world.
There was no question many people's window on the world
was what they saw in the cine-magazines and in the newsreels.
It must have given them this kind of visual encyclopaedia of the world.
Throughout its history, Pathe's intrepid cameramen captured how people lived, worked and played.
Their anthropological films and sumptuous travelogues
represent a unique record
of everyday life across the globe.
It was very exotic, it was very different.
The cinema was a place of adventure and imagination
and a place of magic, we mustn't forget that.
The films conjured up a world
of remoteness such as you read about in Kipling.
At the heart of Pathe's output was their portrait of the British Empire.
Recording the pomp and pageantry of Royal tours
as well as the intimate detail of everyday life,
their films offer fascinating insights
into British attitudes to the outside world.
There was a very great attachment to Britain and a sense of pride, you know.
They were imbued with British and English culture, so where else to go
but the mother country, the centre of the Empire?
Pathe's cameras captured the turning points of a tumultuous century,
bringing to British audiences dramatic pictures
of events that were transforming lives and changing history.
It is very important to document what you've done,
these wonderful moments in people's lives.
Early cinema audiences
were fascinated to see images of faraway lands,
and for Pathe, the travelogues quickly became
a mainstay of the company's early output.
Before the cinema was invented, those intrigued by foreign cultures
would attend lectures illustrated
with colour slides projected by a device known as a magic lantern.
Magic lanterns were the biggest form of entertainment
all over the world in the late 19th century.
You could pop round to your local church hall
or theatre and you could see a journey,
you could be taken on a journey by somebody you knew.
It's not very different from travel today where you get a guide showing you round.
The appetite for this kind of armchair travel shouldn't be underestimated.
I mean, there were hundreds of thousands of homes that had their own lanterns.
So, in a way,
early cinema had to prove that it could do the job as well.
But the pioneers of cinema had an advantage over
the rudimentary projection of the magic lanterns.
The film camera's ability to capture movement
made Pathe's early travelogues irresistible for audiences.
They are like a series of picture postcards.
That's very much the instructions the cameraman would have been given.
Go to such and such city, here are the four or five highlights,
make sure that you actually got the views.
A lot of it is about what was most visually significant,
that people would say, oh, Paris, it's the Eiffel Tower,
it's London, it's Buckingham Palace.
A more common subject, really,
was the lure of the exotic East, or somewhere in the colonies.
Pathe of course were producing for a worldwide audience,
they had a network of branches around the world.
So very often they could hire a local cameraman to go and shoot something
that would then be sent back to head office and turned into a film,
which could be shown in Britain or in America.
From its inception, Pathe was an ambitious company.
Surprisingly early in its history and ahead of its competitors,
its founders pushed the boundaries of cinematic technology,
to achieve astonishing results.
As early as 1905, Pathe adapted methods that had been used to produce images for magic lanterns,
and brought colour to moving pictures.
Often, their choice of subject was ideal
for creating groundbreaking special effects,
as with this adaptation of the exotic tale, Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves.
Colour was one of the things that early film really lusted after.
Now, this isn't colour that comes through the emulsion on the film, it's applied - painted colour.
It was incredibly expensive, you had to pay somebody to colour each frame.
It's quite bright, could be very bright indeed.
And of course it didn't pick out all the details,
but it was very striking,
so what people were seeing when they saw a Pathe coloured film
was a very vivid representation of the world, moving and in colour.
In the first two decades of its operations,
Pathe steadily expanded its repertoire,
bringing a wonderful array of vibrant images to British audiences,
showing everything from the lives of weavers in Spain
and fishermen in Sicily, to the traders
plying wares in the bustling bazaars of the East.
But experiments with special effects and colour were costly,
and the bulk of Pathe's output remained in black and white.
In the early years, there was one subject which dominated the British newsreels.
Cinemagoers avidly consumed news of the Royal Family,
in particular, their activities abroad.
In 1911, Pathe followed the Royals to India when they were attending the Delhi Durbar,
a celebration of the coronation of King George V.
Thousands turned out to catch a glimpse of Britain's King and Queen, the Emperor and Empress of India.
It showed the East as this sort of exotic place
where bizarre and wonderful things happened,
and there's really no attempt to explain this
but it just looked great.
The Royals themselves saw the potential of the newsreel camera and journalism
and how it could extend their authority as rulers of the British Empire.
This was the beginning of a long-standing relationship
between the Pathe cameras and the British monarchy.
From the deserts of Africa to the snows of Canada,
generations of Royals would be filmed as they traversed Britain's global Empire.
Pathe followed the Prince of Wales on a worldwide tour that began in 1919.
Wherever he went, he was faced by cheering crowds and elaborate ceremonies.
There's a wonderful irony - we see the Prince of Wales
being greeted and welcomed everywhere, and with great enthusiasm,
he shakes so many hands that he is unable to use his right hand.
You can see him shaking hands with his left hand frequently.
But actually, he's loathing this experience.
We know from his diaries how much he disliked these tours
and tried to get out of them as far as possible.
Such expeditions created a vogue among the well-heeled
to follow in the footsteps of the Royals, and travel abroad.
At the same time, advances in aviation
opened a world of new possibilities for the enthusiastic tourist.
There is this sense that the world becomes a smaller place
because the technology, particularly with aeroplanes, allows you
to go far greater distances.
You get pictures that you wouldn't have seen before.
One of the most exclusive destinations visited by the early jetsetters
was well within reach - the French seaside resort of Deauville.
Deauville was a very elite, selective area in which you could do horse racing
and visit the beach.
So it was very exclusive. This was saying to the audience,
this is how a certain sector of our own society spends its time
and it isn't in this country, it's in another country.
Interest in foreign travel was by no means the sole preserve of the wealthy.
A new generation of adventurers took advantage of the increased mobility of the age
by journeying into the wilds by car, boat or even motorcycle.
Pathe's cameras followed these two bikers as they ascended 8,000 feet
to the summit of Mount Brevent near Chamonix, in southern France.
When you think about how long ago these clips were made
and the shock at some of the places and things these adventurers were looking at
and sharing with the audience, it must have been fascinating to watch.
What's lovely about all these old Pathe films is how they must have inspired people.
You can imagine how many hordes of people
must have travelled because of watching these clips.
That's kind of exciting, isn't it?!
People are interested that you have a camera so they come and talk to you, so it opens up doors.
There's a real inquisitiveness there and, in a lot of places,
they are just interested in what's going on in the village before,
so if you are a traveller, you need to be able to spread a little gossip with you.
In 1924, Pathe followed the exploits of an even more intrepid adventurer,
when the writer and soldier Major Francis Forbes-Leith
embarked on an expedition by car from Britain to India.
A seasoned traveller who'd journeyed extensively throughout Persia during the First World War,
Forbes-Leith took along a cameraman and a diarist
as he drove across Europe, Turkey and Persia,
before finally arriving at Quetta, in modern-day Pakistan.
Major Forbes-Leith really does experience the whole spirit of adventure,
right from people helping him to drag him out, to donkeys,
over mountains, deserts,
to go off on his adventure and come back and tell the world.
When you see his adventures, they are not that far away from what people like to do now,
programmes like Top Gear and the Dakar Rally.
People like to get down and dirty and have their adventure
and maybe not wash for a couple of days - that's always nice.
It certainly makes the shower you have three or four days later much nicer. You certainly appreciate it.
Forbes-Leith covered 8,527 miles in just over five months.
According to his diary, the car suffered only two punctures.
Pathe's camera crews travelled ever further
as they sought to satisfy the appetites of British cinemagoers
for images of unfamiliar people and places.
In 1929, audiences were gripped by this film,
recording a journey through the island of Borneo.
The expedition brought the film crew into close contact with a then unknown tribe,
a people inaccurately described in the film as "pygmy cannibals".
Some of those images are incredibly ethnographic,
the actual raw footage is fantastic.
They really were the explorers of the 20th century.
They were going there intrepidly,
getting the shots and finding ways of getting it back to Europe.
They are very rare and valuable images now,
even though they might have been compounded into something
which is a bit crass in the way it's presented.
Let's say you're seeing a tribal group sitting down
to an unappetising-looking meal and the title would say something like, not quite like tea at the Ritz.
But it is a way of making a connection with audience.
These intriguing and occasionally shocking images were very different
from what people had grown to expect to see at the cinema.
The appeal of ethnographic films encouraged Pathe's film-makers
to journey to ever more remote corners of the world.
In the early 1930s, they travelled into the Australian outback,
to study the lives of the Aboriginal peoples.
Entitled The Stone Age Men Of Australia,
this film follows the work of a group of anthropologists from the University of Adelaide.
'Many of these natives have never seen a white man,
'and bolted when the aeroplane landed.
'Little do they realise they are going to be measured and studied
'to satisfy the ends of science the world over.
'To create a friendly atmosphere, a glossary of names is taken by means of signs.
'He now becomes a numbered specimen and measurements are taken of his head.
'The skin having been washed, very necessary, is then matched for colour.
'No this is not the fingerprint department. Impressions of the hand
'are being taken in an endeavour to place the Aboriginal's position
'in a relative scale of human development.
'The Abo's ability to draw is not even elementary,
'but on the other hand, being born trackers,
'they are able to copy tracks in the sand with a few deft movements of the fingers.'
It makes you cringe now when you see these films
and you hear them these terms like "Abo" being used about peoples.
You hear they can't draw and yet
Aboriginal art today is highly prized.
You might almost call it colonialism by camera.
You can see the camera capturing subject peoples.
Equally disquieting is a Pathe film that followed
the work of missionaries on Australia's Bathurst Island.
Belonging to series called Antipodes Calling,
it features a commentary that reveals much about some of the attitudes of the time.
'A jewel set in Australia's northern seas is Bathurst Island.
'It's inhabited by a people who's instincts are not far removed from the lower animals.
'White missionaries have come among the coloured Aboriginals
'and are doing noble work in saving the blacks from themselves.
'Where once fear and superstition reigned, there's hope and a new purpose.
'The youngsters are beginning to live.'
It's all to do with the feeling of racial superiority,
which was at the nub of our imperial life,
in which the white man was bearing his burden,
fulfilling his role, as a bearer of civilisation to the benighted heathen.
We had, we thought, a kind of God-given gift
for governing lesser breeds without the laws, as Kipling called them.
'A tinkling summons to the mission church rings out on the sun-drenched tropic air
'and the children whose lives have been diverted
'from the strange practices of the heathen come to worship.
'The darkness of ignorance has been banished by the bright light of faith.'
By contrast, on the other side of the world,
Pathe took a more enlightened approach to their portrayal of the Inuit people of the Arctic circle.
'I am captain Bob Bartlett, owner and skipper of the Little Morrissey.
'She's now getting ready to shove off for a trip to the Arctic region,
'to gather scientific data and to show the strange life in this mysterious land.'
The Canadian explorer and navigator Captain Robert Bartlett
spent most of his life mapping and studying the Arctic.
He led more than 40 expeditions to the region,
spanning more than half a century.
In the 1930s, Bartlett ventured into documentary film-making.
Pathe's cameras accompanied him aboard his ship, the Little Morrissey.
In the new age of sound cinema
his charming character was perfectly suited to the role of presenter.
'Soon, we'll be in the Arctic's best hunting ground,
'the north-east coast of Greenland.
'When we get there, we will see some real wildlife in the far north.
'Come aboard for the trip.'
The expedition film-makers like Bob Bartlett found that sound cinema was a gift
because instead of this succession of mute images
more or less accompanied by the orchestra or pianist,
they could actually personalise them, tell a story.
'We anchor off the beach
'where the Eskimo had hauled in a couple of unlucky narwhal.
'The meat tastes just like chicken.
'The natives are so hungry that they are rolling the fattest one up
'to where they can cut themselves a nice helping of raw narwhal steak.
'Even the kiddies are wild about it. Look at that knife!
'That explains why all Eskimo have small noses!'
Its fascinating to watch, the Bob Bartlett clips. He's got this great voice,
and he leaves each clip on a cliff-hanger so that you want to go back.
'My little schooner Morrissey is jammed fast in the ice pack.
'We are now making our last attempt to force the barrier by using dynamite.
'If it works, we will reach the Greenland coast.
'If it doesn't, it is just too bad.
'My men run to safety!
'I give the signal and off go 25 plugs of dynamite.
'The ice cracks and we start moving through the lee.'
No-one remembers the easy days, but everybody remembers the bits where you had to go through rivers
and you crashed, and that's the same for Bob Bartlett.
That's what people want to see.
'On our way, we run smack into a storm of wind which rips the ocean into fury.
'My staunch Little Morrissey buries her gunnels as she heels over.
'Sailing closed haul with my rails awash,
'I keep her headed for Reykjavik, our only haven.'
By 1933, Pathe had established a global network of distribution agencies.
This allowed the company to produce a series entitled Round The World,
made in conjunction with a cruise liner, the Empress of Britain.
'Well, we're off on a world cruise now, bound across the Atlantic
'to the Mediterranean ports through the Suez Canal to India
'then on to Java, China, Japan.
'Across the Pacific, back to the American continent,
'through the Panama Canal, returning to New York.
'And I know we are going to have a jolly fine time.'
Pathe's film crews stopped off at destinations along the route,
making films that offered audiences at home sights and sounds from across the globe.
A single episode could introduce the audience to dancers performing a tarantella in Italy...
and men worshipping at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
To keep their audiences excited about future instalments,
at the end of each episode,
Pathe offered viewers a taste of where their cameras were going next.
This film concluded with footage from Egypt, showing the dance of the whirling dervish.
'Banned by the authorities of Egypt
'the dancing dervishes often perform the dkihr ceremony, their famous whirling dance
'in the seclusion of the desert. It's their main ceremony,
'an emotional chant and movement which continues until the chief dancer
'works himself into sort of a cataleptic state.
'The dance is approaching his climax and if the dancer is disturbed now it's likely to mean his death!
'It's a great life if you don't weaken or slip!'
The series enabled Pathe to thrill audiences
with previously unheard sounds from far-off places,
and allowed them to show off the technical skills of their camera crews,
as with this daring footage of acrobatic surfers in Hawaii.
Being a film cameraman was a pretty dangerous business.
I mean, you really were out there with equipment which was quite rugged
but it needed looking after, and you had to be absolutely self-contained.
It was a small, tight unit, and the cameraman did everything.
Pathe's film-makers often tried to find innovative and playful approaches to their stories,
such as in this 1937 film from the Solomon Isles.
'Shush, someone comes. He's a tribal chief in full war paint,
'one of the fiercest and bravest of dusky warriors.
'He wants to say something, but of course you won't understand the language.'
How do you do everybody?
35 years ago, my grandfather was one of the great head-hunters in the islands, and also my father.
By the coming of the Methodist missionaries in the Solomon Islands 35 years ago,
they show us a new life of civilisation
and we are able to sing and to play games
and also to play musical instruments.
In the 1930s, when these films were made, the British Empire covered a quarter of the globe.
For the most part, Pathe's film-makers
were enthusiastic champions of Britain's imperial ambitions.
Several films show how the Empire imposed British culture and values on the colonies,
and demonstrate how commercial opportunities were being exploited by British settlers.
# Picture me upon your knee
# Tea for two and two for tea
# Me for you and you for me
# Alone! #
Produced in 1931, a silent film entitled The Story Of India Tea
describes the process of growing, harvesting and exporting
one of the nation's favourite beverages.
But when they examined the lives of India's tea-pickers,
the film-makers were economical with the truth.
The British tried their best to demonstrate that, whereas other empires were exploitative and so on,
the British Empire really stood for freedom,
it was the greatest thing since the Roman Empire
and it was going to go on in perpetuity.
The films give the impression that it's all marvellous
and the white overseers and the black workers live in perfect harmony,
which gave a very misleading impression of the reality.
This is indentured labour.
People called coolie-catchers were sent out to round up poor people
to have them sign up to documents they don't understand
and then they're transported almost like slaves to the tea plantations,
which is one of the great scandals of the British Empire.
I don't think there's any realisation from the cinema audience
that what they are seeing is anything but what appears on the screen.
They're unaware of the reality of this exploitation.
By the time Pathe's film on the tea industry was made,
opposition to Empire was intensifying,
and Mahatma Gandhi's campaign for civil disobedience was gaining ground.
Everything changes with the arrival from South Africa
of this young Indian lawyer Mr Gandhi,
the man that Churchill will call the half-naked, seditious fakir.
This is the man who will energise protest movement
and turn it away from violence in a quite remarkable, unique way.
The British authorities had no idea how to handle Mahatma Gandhi,
they simply saw him as a subversive agitator
and so every so often they put him into prison,
and he would spend four or five years in prison, he'd come out and start all over again.
But films of these protests were seldom shown in British cinemas.
All we see from Pathe are perhaps the meeting of the Chamber of Princes,
we see delegations from London.
We do not see what's actually happening in the streets.
We do not see the authority of the British Raj is being wonderfully subverted.
The only hints we get of it is when we do see Gandhi surrounded by enthusiastic followers.
Eventually we get the British admitting they are no longer going to be able to rule India for ever
and they agree to start giving Indians shared government from 1935 onwards.
So the writing there clearly is on the wall, India will have independence but not yet.
Then the Second World War comes and everything changes.
When war was declared on Germany in 1939,
Britain's colonial forces, including the Indian army, were mobilised.
The focus of Pathe's overseas operations shifted dramatically.
Beautiful images of exotic travelogue destinations
were replaced by scenes of violence, devastation and destruction.
'From the four corners of the Earth they come,
'men from the far-flung British Empire upon which the sun never sets,
'African troops of the desert lands are in the frontline in the defence of democracy.
'They are not conscripts but volunteers
'who have found the Union Jack worth living under and worth fighting for.
'They join the people of the other colonies and dominions in the great march towards a free world.'
From the frontline in France, to the battlefields of Burma,
the colonial forces played a crucial role in Britain's defence.
The Indian army was the largest volunteer force ever assembled,
with more than 2.5 million Indian troops fighting for the Allies.
But after six years of fighting, the loyalty that was shown
to Britain by these volunteer soldiers was wearing thin.
It was a terrific blow to Britain. Even though we came out victorious,
many people who fought came back
and found that what they'd thought they were fighting for,
which was freedom and independence and so on, was being denied them.
There's not only Indians, there's West Africans and other people from the colonies,
all supported the British war effort at great cost to themselves.
They also expected some sort of reward for this.
With the war over, British rule in India was unsustainable
and independence was back on the agenda.
In 1947, Britain's Labour Government agreed to relinquish its grip on the jewel in its imperial crown.
The end of Empire is about
a decline in British power in Britain's world role,
but if you watch Pathe newsreels, you'd never guess that.
They're all very, very upbeat about independence.
In Delhi, tumultuous crowds fill the streets,
celebrating, singing and laughing.
Police were called out many times to restore order
where everyone ran wild with joy.
Part of the message is that this is been long planned, it's like the culminating moment,
and there's little reference to the anti-British resistance in India, the nationalist movement.
It's almost like the newsreels present this as a British initiative,
rather than that countries fought to get independence.
We couldn't hang onto India, that was the truth of the matter,
so the newsreels, in portraying it as a triumph, they were misleading.
With independence came the partitioning of British India along religious grounds,
creating a new Indian state predominantly populated by Hindus and Sikhs,
and establishing East and West Pakistan as largely Muslim states.
But the process was rushed, and amid fears of communal violence,
there was mass displacement of people across the continent.
What the newsreels hardly show is this agony that went on for about nine months.
You had a vast movement of peoples crossing and, alas,
it just took one spark in one particular area
and you would have massacre and counter-massacre and then massacre again,
this process went on and on,
and the numbers lost, possibly as much as two million people,
some would say three million people.
Stirred by intense religious passion, communal strife has shed much blood.
It still continues.
But India's future welfare largely depends upon communal harmony.
Can Hindus and Muslims live peacefully together?
During the past 200 years, the British gave India law and order.
They built roads and railways, they irrigated the lands.
Britain has fulfilled her mission.
It is for India herself now to make her destiny.
As Britain began its long retreat from Empire,
and entered into new relationships with its former colonies with the establishment of the Commonwealth,
Pathe's foreign coverage began to change.
By the late 1940s, the company tried to cheer up audiences
in a Britain of ration books and austerity.
Light-hearted travelogues were Pathe's response to the country's postwar gloom.
One of their films featured the work of a new company which used converted military aircraft
to ferry passengers and their vehicles across the Channel.
Europe was once again a holiday destination rather than a war zone.
No need to thumb a lift in these motor scooter days,
especially when a girl's heading for something really uplifting.
Jill, June, Jane and Jean, like all jays, are migrating birds.
They're scooting off for a half-day holiday in France.
Neat little models, eh? 12 stone - that's all they weigh -
and what a chassis to delight the eye. The scooters, we mean!
More motorcyclists are going for a spin across the briny than ever before.
It's an idea which appeals to a girl who's slender in the purse as well.
Under a fiver is all it will cost each of these lovelies to take a scooter to the Continent and back.
For many people watching in the cinema,
a trip to the Continent costing a week's wages was beyond their means.
Even so, films featuring young and attractive people
and a relentlessly upbeat commentary offered a welcome escape from ordinary life.
It's one thing for a girl to go places fast,
it's quite another for her to make up her mind just where to go,
but all ways in France are pretty inviting.
They're not due to return home for five hours, so if it's touring they want,
they'll be able to cover 180 miles at a steady 45, and still have time for a stroll along the plage.
With the advent of charter flights in 1950,
it was the French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean
that became the destination for Britain's first package holidays.
In the same year, Pathe produced a film entitled Corsica Holiday,
a travelogue with dramatised sequences that tells the story
of a young British woman swept up in a holiday romance.
' "What do you do?" Michel asked in comic English.
'I tired to demonstrate that I was a secretary but he couldn't get it,
'so out came my phrase book, and after that, we got along fine.
'Ours was a perfect holiday friendship.
'We talked a lot, went for long walks in the eucalyptus forest
'and made plans to meet again some time.
'Yes, we were becoming fond of each other.
'Perhaps that was the best day of all.
'The sea roared and the sun shone.
'We seemed to be the only people left in the world.'
Another romantic couple featuring prominently in Pathe's films at this time
was the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II
and the Duke of Edinburgh.
From November 1953 until May 1954,
the young couple embarked on a Royal tour of 12 Commonwealth nations.
Pathe's cameras recorded in radiant colour the Royal couple's progress,
as they received rapturous welcomes everywhere.
Newsreels go in for spectacles, and there's nothing like a celebration
or a centenary or an anniversary or something of that kind,
with the flags and the drums, all that colourful spectacle.
The Queen was the best advertisement for Britain that you could have,
particularly because she didn't look like an advertisement. She looked like herself.
She gave a positive impression, she was wholesome.
Royalty reinforced both local patriotism, British patriotism,
but it reinforced Commonwealth patriotism.
It's a very youthful, fresh kind of image and the idea is that Britain is being rejuvenated.
There's been a long period of austerity following the war,
but now we're moving beyond that...
..and the spectacles that get laid on for her - military spectacles, horse racing, dancing -
it looks like the Royal tours had looked before the Second World War,
and there's a kind of confidence. It's called the New Elizabethan Age,
so it's brilliant publicity.
Since the first Elizabethan Age,
when British eyes first saw Caribbean waters lapping these sands,
a reigning British sovereign had come for the first time to the shores of Jamaica.
I remember, as a child, when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
visited Montego Bay and all the schools were mobilised
to line the streets and wave flags.
Down from the Blue Mountains people's coming,
from the sugar plantations, from the jungle,
from the swamps.
It was a morning none of us will ever forget,
that bright morning when we come to greet our own reigning sovereign on our own soil.
There are about a million-and-a-half of us in Jamaica,
mostly coloured people,
but many of us are from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Also Jewish people, people from Europe, from Spain and many from Africa.
But for all of us here in Jamaica, there is but one Queen -
the Young Missus, Queen Elizabeth.
There was in fact a very great attachment to Britain
and a pride, a sense of pride, you know.
There was a feeling of mother country.
So there was that great link to Empire.
At a time when Britain was suffering severe labour shortages,
workers from the Commonwealth countries the Queen visited
were actively encouraged to come to Britain
and help the mother country recover from ravages of war.
The Empire Windrush brings to Britain 500 Jamaicans.
In Jamaica, they couldn't find work. Discouraged but full of hope, they sailed for Britain.
This was probably the first documentation of postwar Caribbean migration to Britain.
A ship called the SS Windrush was taking back demobbed West Indian servicemen
who had fought during the Second World War.
They arrived in the Caribbean realising that the conditions there
were worse than here,
and they came back to Britain.
They were imbued with British culture,
so where else to go but the mother country, the centre of the Empire?
-Now, may I ask you your name?
-I am told that you are the king of calypso singers. Is that right?
-Will you sing for us?
# London is the place for me
# London, this lovely city... #
-Now, why have you come to England?
-To seek a job.
-And what sort of job do you want?
Any type, so long as I get a good pay.
MICHAEL MCMILLAN: Postwar Britain was in a bad way.
A lot of these people had been invited, so you had a government
who needed migrant labour, yet it hadn't really dealt with it
in terms of its electorate, about these people were arriving,
they had fought for us and died for us in the war,
but now they wanted to come back as immigrants.
"Oh, no, we can't have that." So there was a lot of racial tension.
There were Government initiatives to help integrate migrants into their new homeland.
In 1955, Pathe's news cameras captured couples attending a dance that was open to everyone,
and in subsequent newsreels, their commentaries often emphasised the positive aspects of integration.
There's no colour problem at Ring Cross infant school.
Mrs Yvonne Conolly has to be thanked for that, but there's an awful lot of love, most of it for her.
When Jamaican migrant Yvonne Conolly became Britain's first black female head teacher,
Pathe covered the story but left out the racist threats that followed her appointment.
I think I was about the only head teacher who had a minder to take me into the school on the morning,
because they had threatened to burn the school down.
Then I had racist letters from the, the National Front,
with photographs cut out of the newspaper, crossed through with racist things which said,
"You are taking up a place in England.
"Why don't you go back to your country? We don't need you here."
But at that same time, I also had letters from Black Power,
sort of saying, "Now, you just remember you're appointed only and only for black kids."
But I saw my role as being a head teacher for all the children in the school,
whether they were white or of mixed race or black.
Since she took over the headship of the school,
she has brought a new vitality to it,
her children from many parts of the world mix happily, unaware of prejudice.
We could learn a lot from them.
While its newsreels were recording the lives of new arrivals to Britain,
Pathe's travelogues followed
the increasing numbers of Britons travelling overseas,
often to the very places that the migrants had left behind.
Everywhere the beauty and brilliant sun of the tropics,
that bid us linger at every stage of the world's most perfect island-hopping holiday.
Blue skies, sun-warmed seas, scenery of incredible beauty -
these are the unspoilt charms of the Caribbean isles.
To tour these islands, to explore their landscapes and coral reefs
is to enjoy an unforgettable experience.
Throughout the '50s and '60s, Pathe produced scores of short, colour travelogues
presenting the tourist destinations now available in an era of mass air transit.
From Acapulco to the Alps,
Pathe's cameramen tried to capture every distinctive quirk or curiosity.
One cable railway can take you to the very summit of the ice-clad Stockhorn,
but without needing to walk or climb a tricky step.
You can go even further by snow cat, and all you need is a nose shield.
There are other attractions on the Continent.
For example, the food. Here, in the lovely Dutch town of Alkmaar, we find a gourmet's paradise -
the Friday cheese market. But don't mention it to a mouse!
Song, wine and women, wine, women and song - that's the Vienna story.
Anton Karas and his zither might still be here.
Anton Karas? What have I said?
These colourful films helped to popularise foreign travel.
By the late '60s, the number of Britons going abroad each year had soared to five million,
and 1967 was named the International Year of the Tourist.
Our visit now is to the island of Grand Cayman,
but with another camera to keep an eye on our cameraman,
for this romantic setting is known as the island of women.
After cribbing some of their trade secrets, we thought it only fair to pass on some of ours.
As foreign holidays became more accessible, Pathe's travelogues expanded.
Many became thinly disguised adverts, after Pathe offered high-profile businesses
the chance to promote themselves on the big screen in return for sponsoring their films.
This one, made for the British Motor Corporation,
extols the joy of a driving holiday through Switzerland
in a Wolseley 1500.
We were soon ascending the Schwagalp Pass which, long as it is,
was no trial for the Wolseley 1500,
which swept up it.
Many multinationals and industrial corporations were seeing film as a means of public relations,
and every firm in Britain,
from the big nationalised companies to small companies,
feel that they should have
their own little cine-magazine.
With a similar emphasis on escape, this film, made for P&O,
captures the delights of a family cruise around the Mediterranean.
To any normal person,
there is nothing in the world quite so fascinating as a great ship.
The 30,000-ton Arcadia is one of several giant liners
cruising regularly from London or Southampton.
All cruising liners have a lot of decks -
the boat deck, the promenade deck and a whole lot of just deck decks,
but, undoubtedly, one of the most popular is the games deck.
But not all of Pathe's sponsored travelogues were about holidays and escape.
Many of these films don't stress so much the production
but stress the history of the place that they are in
and the progress
that industrialisation is bringing to that place.
Ageless Iraq is no longer a remote, isolated country.
Today, she is a main junction linking the East and West.
This film was made by Pathe in the 1950s for the Iraq Petroleum Company,
part owned by Anglo-Iranian Oil, which became BP in 1954.
Iraq's actual wealth is oil, untapped until this century,
but now her oilfields are being continuously developed,
and the revenue from this new wealth is being used to create more wealth for the betterment of the country.
The film is 20 minutes long, but only 30 seconds are devoted to the oil industry.
Instead, it focuses on Iraq's people and antiquities,
while telling the story of its transformation into a modern country.
For all these young people, there is the chance of a good education and a good health.
Their fathers had to tramp for miles through the dust of summer and the winter's mud
to the few primitive schools of their day.
Now new schools and colleges are giving the youth of the country a proper start in life.
Oil is what it's all about and oil is hardly mentioned.
Now we can only look
on that film with a sense of irony of what's happened since,
because there are scenes there that are lost forever
which wouldn't have been preserved but for that film.
This was the great Ottoman Empire,
which itself was the descendent of the great Arabic empires.
It was the Muslim heartland and the British and the French
and to some extent the Americans move in and they set up their own puppet rulers.
Remember, at this time, Saudi Arabia had not yet discovered its oilfields.
Saudi Arabia is not in the picture. It's Iraq and Iran,
two countries that the Americans and the British
are determined to rule over and control.
Within a few minutes' flying time of Basra is a strangely different world.
You're back in another age.
Here, amid lakes and marshes, water has created a way of life all its own.
It's made with some respect for the local culture and history and tradition.
This was the seat of Western civilisation and the scene of the Garden of Eden.
The Marsh Arabs, a culture that was utterly destroyed by Saddam Hussein
because the local peoples opposed his rule, so he drained,
he literally drained the Tigris or the Euphrates so there was no more water there.
This outstanding footage is believed to be the earliest surviving colour film of the Marsh Arabs.
Whatever the film's original purpose,
it now represents a unique record of a traditional aspect of Iraqi culture.
There's a strong emphasis on the exotic, on travel, on how marvellous it is
to see our varied world and to see it in colour.
This is why people were excited by motion pictures in the first place.
There's wonderful things going on in the world, and look,
I've been able to capture motion pictures. Just look at it!
Pathe's film-makers invariably captured wonderful images,
but their reporting of pressing political issues was far more uncertain.
In some films, even questions of national security were overlooked,
as in this 1964 travelogue on Rhodesia,
which was made when the country stood on the brink of civil war.
Forget for a moment any controversy there is about Southern Rhodesia,
and see it as an exciting holiday land where patrol boats watch over game reserves
and where you can see the shape of our earliest yesterdays
within calculated distance of the great, new driving force that has come about.
Like many postwar struggles for independence in Africa,
the root of the problem was the takeover of land by white British settlers.
This is where the British officers were given territory and told that,
as a reward for their part in World War I, they could go there and farm there.
And it's so bizarre that you have a film made at this time,
when the realities of the situation are barely mentioned.
Just weeks before this film was released, the murder of a white farmer triggered the civil war
that would continue until 1980, when Rhodesia finally became the Republic of Zimbabwe.
But the travelogue simply highlights the attractions for holidaymakers,
and the conflict is entirely ignored.
These tribesmen live on the tourist trade, in villages,
some of which were only built when the Kariba Dam flooded 2,000 square miles of their jungle.
He's the man who makes the jungle drums, chipping them out of solid logs,
but that's a craft that'll never be lost,
because the drum is something the Africans have given to the whole grateful world.
The drums and the most ancient modern rhythm of the dance.
I think the films companies had lost their way at this time.
I don't think they knew quite what their role was.
Was it to represent reality in all its harshness,
or was it some kind of fantasy land,
that they were really there to entertain and amuse the Saturday afternoon movie audience?
Perhaps it's too easy for us now. We look back and we can criticise the film-makers and say,
"Surely they could have done a better job?" But perhaps they were kidding themselves.
Escapism is always the easy way out.
Looking for new ways to boost their popular appeal,
Pathe had started making travelogues that put the experience of ordinary British travellers centre stage.
Many were produced by seasoned film-maker Terry Ashwood, who'd made his name
behind and in front of the camera during the war,
when he filmed on the frontline with the Eighth Army in North Africa.
After the war, Ashwood continued to travel,
but in his peacetime adventures, he was joined by his family.
From 1956 onwards, he made a series featuring his daughter Gaye.
In the years ahead, Gaye starred in a dozen Pathe travelogues,
making her debut in a film entitled A Schoolgirl In Egypt.
For little Gaye, it's going to be an exciting day.
In a few hours she will be in Egypt, the air hostess tells her,
seeing for herself all the famous sights and buildings from her picture book at school.
My father had this big fascination with Egypt,
because of his war time,
and he always wanted to go back to the desert,
and he wanted to take his wife and daughter
to show part of what he'd... he'd seen.
And he decided that it would be a nice touch
to have his daughter growing up, seeing the world,
and it progressed from there.
We went to places that, normally, a child of that age wouldn't go to.
Egypt is all things to all men, it has been said,
but for a little schoolgirl, this strange, ancient country is three lessons rolled into one -
zoology, geography and history.
I remember going to places where they hadn't seen a young girl with long blonde hair.
When we went to North Africa, walking down the sort of souks and things,
and they just used to stare.
Morocco today is a land of contrasts but in marketplaces like this,
time seems to have stood still for over a 1,000 years.
Oh, I remember that... Oh, dear.
In the film A Schoolgirl In Italy, the young explorer was equipped with her very own camera.
That was my father's idea,
for me to be seen photographing to take back for school to show friends.
Next stop, the romantically famous - in film and song - Trevi Fountain of modern Rome.
I remember the Trevi Fountain very well, and I remember my father telling me to flick the coin
and flip round and look in.
According to legend, a traveller departing from Rome
who throws a coin in the fountain is bound to return.
We don't know whether that's true or not, but there's no harm in Gaye wishing!
It became the norm. It was natural, it was just normal to do,
and father would say, "Right, well, this year we're going Caribbean," or wherever.
It just became part of my life.
Israel is a palm tree paradise.
Here, in this Mediterranean-washed land of sunshine, there's every opportunity
for the sun-soakers to enjoy themselves, but not all attractions are on land.
At Eilat, Israel's southern-most point, the mask and flipper brigade
have found a new and colourful world to explore...underwater.
When we went to Israel, a year after the Six-Day War,
my father was approached by the Israeli Tourist Board.
Israel desperately wanted tourists to come back.
He said to them, "Would you like us to help?"
Ride out with the Bedouin tribesmen for a desert gallop
that will remain an indelible holiday memory.
When we went to the Negev Desert, the guide we had was fully armed,
still, even a year later, and we couldn't come off this particular track all the way through the desert,
because there was still mines left from the war.
Israel's coastline has become a holiday playground -
modern hotels have sprung up all along the Mediterranean seashore, offering something for everyone.
I think we did help to bring back a bit of confidence in what had been,
you know, a bit of a war-torn country.
This is the place to soak up your final memories of Israel,
and perhaps it's significant that you leave Israel in jet-age luxury,
because though the past is important, so is the present and the future.
Gaye's journey to Israel turned out to be her last filming trip for Pathe.
By the end of the '60s, the company needed fresh approaches
to combat rising competition from television.
They used widescreen and Technicolor film
to cover major events, such as Pope Paul VI's pilgrimage to Jerusalem,
and the maiden flight of one of the great icons of European engineering.
For Concorde 001, this was the chance to prove she was the super bird
everyone had hoped and worked for. This was it!
But it wasn't enough to arrest Pathe's decline.
They've got an assured market and they are making a lot of money from it,
so they start losing touch with their audience
and by the time they are regaining that touch,
things have moved on. You've got television.
So you don't have that monopoly any more, and it was no longer financially viable.
Before television became a mass medium
there was no question that many people's window on the world
was what they saw in cine-magazines and newsreels,
and it gave shape to the world, and it massively shaped TV,
because so much of what we see on TV, the programme formats,
really do come out of the formats that were developed cinema.
It's very interesting to look at the last few years of Pathe.
To think back to the earliest years, it's almost like they've come full circle.
They've shed the imperative to report on news at all,
and it's the image for its own sake.
British Pathe's last foreign report was shown in February 1970.
Aptly titled Final Edition, Prelude To A Royal Journey,
the film showed life in Australia and New Zealand, prior to a visit by the Queen.
This is a land of natural beauty and charm. It needs no further embellishment to welcome its Queen.
The film reached back to those key elements for which Pathe had been known from the very beginning -
travel to exotic places, a fascination with cultures and rituals,
and uncovering the treasures of Empire.
It was a fitting swansong by a celebrated company.
Yes, they were uncritical. Yes, they were very superficial.
Yes, they were patronising. But they played their part
not only in entertaining but also, to some degree, to educating us.
Although the cinema newsreels withered away, in our digital age, Pathe's legacy lives on.
The 90,000 films in British Pathe's archive
give us an important and enduring record of life in the 20th century,
both at home and far beyond Britain's shores.
It's probably going to be hard to underestimate how influential Pathe newsreels and cine-magazines were
on people's view of the world, particularly the world outside their shores,
but just because the cameras were there, often in places where the camera had never been before,
that's an extraordinary thing.
Oh, Pathe doesn't end. Newsreels don't end.
Cine-magazines don't end. They just get recycled!
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