Holiday (1957)

This promotional celebration of the joys of holidaying in Blackpool is one of the most fondly remembered of all the British Transport Films travelogues.

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Film details

  • Featuring

    Robert Shaw

  • Director

    John Taylor

  • Country

    United Kingdom

  • Year

    1957

  • Genre

    Travelogue

  • Type

    Film

  • Category

    Non Fiction

Introduction

Unlike the vast majority of BTF’s travelogues, Holiday keeps its commentary to a minimum, with just a brief scene–setting opening and a slightly longer interlude to mark the early afternoon siesta.

The film derives its reputation and appeal from the two wordless passages that constitute a masterclass by editor Ralph Sheldon. Marrying unstructured Blackpool footage to a series of jazz standards (recorded by the Chris Barber Jazz Band), Sheldon devised a series of immaculately timed gags that wouldn’t shame the great silent comedians.

The film was shot on 16mm Kodachrome, the smaller format justified by the need to keep the camera as discreet as possible. Although some scenes were staged, David Watkin shot a substantial amount of footage via a camera hidden in a cardboard box, filming unwitting passers–by through a strategically–positioned hole with the rest of the crew concealing other tell–tale details.

But Holiday has much going for it beneath the showy surface, since it also offers one of the decade’s most uncontrived and unselfconscious records of working–class leisure. For sheer joie de vivre, there’s little to match it.

Cast & Credits

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