This film is part of Free

High Jinks

All the fun of the fair: lovely, lively record of 'Shanghai's Coney Island'.

Non-Fiction 1929 1 mins Silent


Despite its insensitive title (and a patronising intertitle describing the local population as 'John Chinaman'), this is a lovely record of the newly-opened Great World Amusement Park, dubbed 'Shanghai's Coney Island'. The camerawork is quite poetic by newsreel standards, capturing the rhythms of the Ferris wheels, waltzer and swing carousel, and lingering on a family on the Caterpillar.

The funfair was active until at least 1936, when it was mentioned in a tourist guide for Westerners seeking a taste of Shanghai metropolitan life. The fashions of the time are interesting: the men wear mostly Western clothing, complete with fedoras or newsboy caps, while the women retain more traditional cheongsam. The men's dress suggests that the people visiting the fairground were upper class: the Chinese elite were early adopters of Western tailoring. Unlike other Topical Budget newsreel items made in Shanghai in this period, no Westerners are seen, although a few Japanese women - part of Shanghai's international community - mingle with the Chinese people enjoying the rides.