‘The Historian and the Home Movie’ film – Blog 3


In MACE’s blog this week we take a look at the film ‘The Historian and the Home Movie’ produced for us by Electric Egg.

The 25 minute film has been made available for free as a DVD to subscribers of this month’s History Today magazine in. The DVD can also be made available to academics, researchers, teachers and other educational and research organisations. See the end of this post for details.

This 5 part blog will focus on extracts from the film which highlights some of the material found in MACE’s Heritage Lottery Funded film search project, Full Circle, and explores how home movies and amateur films can be used by academics as important historical ‘documents’.

Historian and the Home Movie Clip 3:
Taylor Downing & James Patterson view and discuss a home movie from 1966

In this clip, MACE’s Director James Patterson and broadcaster/historian Taylor Downing, watch and discuss a series of home movie films, specifically Fred Alvey’s film ‘Ashbourne Shrovetide Football 66’, a home movie of the Royal Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire where Sir Stanley Matthews turns up the ball.

Taylor Downing says, ‘Of the archive film record…98% of what is available to filmmakers today is in the main public archives. It’s film that was shot commercially or professionally for a particular purpose, it could have been shot for…the cinema newsreels that used to precede the feature films and cinema presentations that go back to before the First World War; it could have been shot as part of a documentary, either for the cinema or more recently for television; but in all of this material you get a fairly official, professional take on the world. When it comes to home movies you get a very different domestic take – you get people recording their own lives, the rituals in their lives, events that are important to them, not for a public screening, not to be shown professionally usually, but simply to be kept as a record in the family, and so that has a very different starting point, a very different perspective, a very different take on events’.

James and Taylor discuss the home movie footage of the Shrovetide football match which was filmed for cinema newsreels for many years, the action being filmed from above and isolated from the action. What is different about this footage, Taylor considers, is that the viewer is actually placed in the crowd: ‘This is a the point of view of somebody who is not actually running with the football but is certainly very close to the event, the game, and the people taking part in it, and so again it has got a different feel to it’. James describes this footage of the event as ’of it rather than at it’.

Obtaining a copy of The Historian and the Home Movie for Research

If you are an academic, teacher or researcher and would like a free copy of the DVD, please email info@macearchive.org or telephone 01522 837750. As we only have a small number of DVDs available, please advise us of your profession and the organisation you represent when you contact us.

DVDs are free, although a contribution towards postage would be appreciated. P&P is usually £1.50.

MACE is a registered charity and registered with Just Giving. A donation towards our on-going work would be appreciated. Visit http://www.justgiving.com/mediaarchiveceltd/donate to see our Just Giving page and make a donation.

You can watch the full home movie of [Alvey: Ashbourne Shrovetide Football 66] on our online catalogue here.

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