This film is part of Free
My Oriental Friends, From Penang to Peking
This unique and beautiful tour of Southeast Asia and China is a treasure trove of picturesque views of Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
Amateur film 1923 16 mins Silent
An oddity - this unique and beautiful tour of Southeast Asia and China wasn't actually made for the cinema. Its picturesque views of Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing were collected by director Selwyn Driver, a musical comedian by trade, for his "lecture-entertainments": illustrated talks that were "delightfully artistic, musical, poetical, human, humorous, and yet definitely cultural."
The film would have been projected as background for Driver's own repertoire of jokes, "shrewd observations", sketches, and piano interventions - and delivered, apparently, with "verve and raciness" on Britain's university and private school lecture circuit. Not that you'd have guessed it - these sombre images have an austere fascination with poverty and Oriental 'otherness' that is typical of the most serious 1920s travelogues.
Beijing - Northern Capital
Non-Fiction 1910 8 mins Silent Location: Beijing
Extraordinary and exquisite views of life and landscape in Beijing during the late Qing dynasty.
Amateur film 1927 6 mins Silent
Engrossing home movie images of an extravagant funeral procession on the streets of a Chinese city.
Amateur film 1932 0 mins Silent Location: Beihai Park
This home movie from the Eng family's collection includes scenes of Beihai Park and Forbidden City.
Amateur film 1932 2 mins Silent Location: Beijing
Home movie snapshots take in a visit to a rock-face, a Beijing temple and skilled Shantou seamstresses hard at work in Guangdong Province, South China.
Documentary 1908 9 mins Location: Shanghai
Take a cruise through imperial China on the world's longest man-made waterway, the Grand Canal.
Travelogue 1925 49 mins Silent Location: Beijing
Scenes of bustling city life in east Beijing and the funeral procession of Sun Yat-Sen, founder of the Republic of China.
Amateur film 1932 0 mins Silent Location: Hong Kong
Home-movie snapshots of life and work in Shantou in Guangdong Province, South China.
Amateur film 1937 32 mins Silent Location: Hong Kong
Vivid views of pre-war Hong Kong.
Amateur film 1929 4 mins Silent Location: Hong Kong
A fascinating film about expat life in Hong Kong; featuring amazing views of open countryside, a steeplechase and frolics on the beach at Repulse Bay.
Documentary 1940 24 mins Silent Location: Hong Kong
This intimate study of Hong Kong explores the life and landscape of the former British colony in exquisite detail.
Amateur film 1938 17 mins Silent Location: Hong Kong
The daily grind for Hong Kong dockers and farmers, captured by an amateur filmmaker.
Amateur film 1937 5 mins Silent Location: Hong Kong
Get close to the action with this high-octane footage of a traditional Chinese water sport.
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
A new luxury express is put through its paces. This film looks over the shoulders of the select band of craftsmen, engineers and operators, whose combined skills try to ensure that a train journey is a delightful experience.
Documentary 1973 15 mins
British Transport Films record the varied daily lives of their neighbours as seen from the high roof of their building in London’s Marylebone.
Industry sponsored film 1957 20 mins
Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.
Documentary 1952 30 mins
Examining a day in the life of what was then the busiest railway system in the world – British Railways.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
Industry sponsored film 1957 9 mins
A 1957 film examining the future for British Railways, and some of the opportunities provided by a new modernisation plan.