Nature's Charms (1933)

This apparently old-fashioned early sound film promoting the Austin Motor Company actually takes a big step towards car advertising as we know it today.

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Film details

  • Featuring

    Freddie Bartholomew

  • Country

    United Kingdom

  • Year

    1933

  • Genre

    Advert

  • Type

    Film

  • Category

    Non Fiction

Introduction

Most early films sponsored by car companies focused on the manufacturing process, or on the reliability and high performance that followed from careful construction. Nature’s Charms ignores speed, safety and handling in favour of representing the lifestyle that can supposedly be attained through driving one.

At a time of economic depression and peak unemployment, it is perhaps natural the film should prefer to highlight the possibility of escape to an idyllic countryside rather than the kind of industry that might produce an Austin car. And yet motoring was one of the few growing businesses of the time, and the target audience for the film was an affluent few for whom the means test and unemployment insurance would never be a concern.

The obscure essay by William Hazlitt (1778-1830) that structures the film adds to the air of privilege. These themes of aspiration, nature and family happiness are still the bedrock of much car advertising today.

Cast & Credits

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