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Christmas Story

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Christmas Story

A great example of an integrated family of immigrants from different religious backgrounds showing just how Christmas can be enjoyed the traditional way in post-war Britain.

1950 4 mins

Overview

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Leeds’ maverick amateur filmmaker and inventor Alan Sidi gets behind the camera aged just 19 in this typical Christmas for a reasonably well-off family in Leeds in 1950. A girl awakes to find presents on her bed and more under the Christmas tree delivered by Santa. And despite the continued meat rationing, the traditional turkey is served to the guests in their party hats, as is champagne by the family servant as they all blow party horns.

Alan Sidi was a man of ideas and invention, both comic and technological, for Leeds Mercury Movie Makers in the 1960s. He was making films even at school in the 1940s and went on to make many family films and travelogues in the 1970s. His invention of a cine-sync machine in the 1960s enabled audio to be synchronised with, and then added to, 16mm film. Both of Alan’s parents were immigrants, his father, a Turkish Jew, who himself invented a machine to weave mohair (hence the family’s relative prosperity), and his mother Mica, another maker of films, who hailed from Paris. Also to be seen is Alan’s future wife Kay, another immigrant, recently arrived from Ireland to commence a career in nursing.