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  • Short Summary

    Documentary about night life in Britain - clubs, cabarets, restaurants, comedy, plays etc. c. 1953

  • Description

    Reel 2.
    Usher Hall - poster for National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain - directed by Sir Adrian Boult. High angle shot of the Orchestra playing. C/U of conductor - Sir Adrian. Low angle shots of the orchestra members. Violin section and cellists. Panning shot of the brass section to the percussion. Young teenager plays the cymbals. C/U of very serious young boy playing timpani. M/S of the wind section - flutes and oboes. High angle shot as they finish the piece. C/U of conductor.

    01:53:20 - The Crazy Gang at the Victoria Palace. Low angle of the boys as they sing a song about ringing bells. C/U of audience smiling and applauding. Various shots of Bud Flanagan singing "Underneath the Arches"- he has actors and actresses from the chorus all around him swaying along to the song. Poster for the Victoria Palace featuring The Crazy Gang, Nervo & Knox, Bud Flanagan and Naughton & Gold. Pan to London Palladium poster featuring Max Bygraves, Tessie O'Shea and 'Monsewer' Eddie Gray. M/S and C/U of Tessie O'Shea singing and doing a "sexy" shimmy. 'Monsewer' Eddie Gray does a juggling act. Max Bygraves sings "Big Head" - C/U and M/S - the audience joins in although we don't see them do so - only hear them.

    01:56:25 - The Players' Theatre - music hall entertainment - man in Victorian costume introduces Hattie Jacques. Woman at the piano begins to play. L/S of the stage with the audience in view. Hattie sings a comedy song in costume. Shots of the audience - they drink beer. C/U of the "chairman" or master of ceremonies smoking a cigar. The audience joins in singing: "My old man says follow the van..." Hattie does a little dance. Closer shots of the audience singing and of Hattie. Good C/U of a man in tweed jacket and waistcoat singing the last line of the song then taking a big swig of beer.

    01:57:37 - Change of scene - a very elegant woman sips from a champagne glass. Pull back to show her and her partner sitting at a table in the Cafe de Paris being served by a waiter. High angle of waiter pouring a glass of wine then camera pans down to a dance floor where couples dance an elegant ballroom type dance. Voiceover states: "Austerity is a thing of the past." American woman states that she knows why so many GIs wanted to go back to Britain when she sees the elegant English girls.

    M/S of a group of middle aged diners at a table with a champagne bottle on ice. C/U of the buffet table. Chef carves meat off the bone, large crab, whole chicken and lobster or langoustine (?) are displayed for the diners. Pan across the diners. Shot of dancing couples, very glamorous frocks - obviously a wealthy crowd - all the men in black suit and bow tie. Good class contrast with previous section. Three young people sit at a table smoking.

    01:58:39 - Band leader introduces Jean Carson who sweeps down the stairs in a flowing white dress. She performs "Sing a Song of London" mentioning the East End, the West End, Bow Bells, Hampstead, Mayfair and Big Ben. Pan from the singer to the diners. New Churchill's Club - cocktail bar and nightclub. The lights dim and the M.C. introduces Boscoe Holder and his Troupe in "Tropicana." L/S of a small stage area in front of a small band. Black dancers walk on to the stage and perform a routine. Good C/Us of some of the dancers in traditional Caribbean (?) dress.

    02:00:59 - L/S of couple walking towards the camera at night. They walk past a coffee stand where lots of people are gathered around in their coats drinking. High angle shot of a policeman on his night beat. Doorman opens the door to a large car for a group of late night youngsters. Shot of two glamorous women and a man getting in. Policeman walks past a couple kissing on a doorstep. Policeman waves and the couple kiss each other good night. The man puts on his gloves and walks to his car.

    Shots of London as dawn breaks - L/S of Tower Bridge, National Portrait Gallery and St Martin's in the Fields (?). Pan down from a statue of Shakespeare to a tramp sleeping on a bench nearby. Shakespeare quote ends the commentary: "Our revels now are ended, these our actors as I foretold you were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air. We are such stuff as dreams are made of and our little life is rounded with a sleep..."

    Note: excellent shots of various night-time activities in London. Although Nervo & Knox and Naughton & Gold are mentioned in the film's credits and seen on posters for the Victoria Palace, we do not see either of their acts although we do see the Crazy Gang.

    The USA version seems to only differ in its soundtrack - the narrators include an American man and his daughter who give their impressions of the nightlife of London.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:52:25:00 / 02:02:27:00

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