This film is part of Free

A Christmas Story

It's Christmas 1952 and after the presents, the decorations and the cake are made ready, all generations of the family gather for the big party

Amateur film 1952 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This nostalgic film starts with close-ups of hands writing cards, wrapping presents, decorating the house and the Christmas cake. A tin-plate toy bus meanders across the floor and jumps into its box for wrapping. It is marked 'To Richard'. Then the guests, both young and old, start arriving. Wearing party hats they pose by the dinner table, laughing, pulling faces and joking with the camera. Interestingly, all the Christmas cards seen on the mantlepiece are secular.

Peter Mills was quite a skilled cameraman, as the degree of technical sophistication in this amateur film from the early 1950s shows. From the end of that decade and into the 1960s, Mills worked as Peter Watkins' assistant cameraman on a number of productions - including 'The Forgotten Faces' and 'Dust Fever.' Peter Watkins is perhaps best known for his controversial drama-documentary film 'The War Game', which would go on to win the 1967 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, despite being banned by the BBC who had originally commissioned the film.