Detail

Title ID 3164Collection ID694
TitleSymphony of the Seasons
Date1936
CollectionBognor Regis Film Society
Genre/TypeAmateurNon-fiction
ThemeRural Life Cine Club Film-Making
KeywordsAutumn Beaches Clubs Farming Leisure Time Activities Rural Areas Sea Fishing Seasons Ships Spring Summer
Location
LocalBognor Regis Saint Ives
RegionalWest Sussex Cornwall
NationalEngland United Kingdom
Credits
ProductionBognor Regis Film Society
CameraBarry Hart
DirectorHarry Leopold Guermonprez
ProducerHarry Leopold Guermonprez; Barry Hart
Format16mm Colour Silent
Duration11 min. 25 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details

Summary

Seasonal imagery of English nature has been edited into a linear format, tracing the passing of a year. Intertitles quoting lines of classical poetry introduce the different scenes.

Description

The SPRING title consists the letters attached to a tree branch covered in blossom. The focus of this season is on flowers and farming. There are close-ups of daffodils and other spring flowers moving in the breeze, as well as trees covered in blossom. A farmer sews seeds and there is footage of lambs in a field. SUMMER is shown as the letters resting on a table next to a vase full of flowers. Although plant life and farming are shown, summer is mainly represented by activities on the beach and the sea. The season opens on a rippling green pond. There is a garden full of flowers. A young woman lies on a pebbled beach applying lipstick with a mirror. Another woman eats an small pot of ice-cream. A group of them play ball on the beach in front of the sea. Some young boys splash and play in the water. A woman uses a ball as a float while her friend helps her to swim. Passengers disembark from the 'Glen Gower' paddle steamer before she sets sail again. Flowers, butterflies and horse-drawn harvesters populate the Sussex Downs. The letters of AUTUMN are placed on a wicker basket full of fruit. Everyone is wearing coats. A woman picks twigs from a tree while two men walk alongside autumnal trees. Apples are picked from trees. There are shots of the sea but this time it is much more rough. Two women dressed in coats, hats and scarves climb on rocks as the waves break along the rocky Cornish coastline. The US steamer 'Bessemer City' has recently been shipwrecked off St Ives- a signpost points to the wreck. Fishermen unload their herring catches at the harbour whilst seagulls search for scraps. The WINTER title is the letters laid on the ground amongst twigs and leaves being blown by the wind. Snow covers the roofs of the houses and gardens. A white dog runs towards the camera in a snow-covered garden. There are shots of snow on trees and plants. A man and a woman enjoy a snowball fight. After shots of clouds being blown along by the wind, the film ends with the sun setting over the sea.

Stills

Symphony of the Seasons (ca. 1936)

Contextual information

The Bognor Regis Film Society (BRFS) was formed in 1935 - Harry Guermonprez, a prominent West Sussex natural historian, was a co-founder. Throughout the 1930s the BRFS produced several newsreels and dramas which were exhibited at local venues, including the 2000-seater Theatre Royal. Their films serve as important records of amateur filmmaking and of everyday life and special events in pre-Second World War Bognor Regis.

The BRFS proved to be one of the country's pioneer film societies, producing films with excellent camera work. Consequently, the Society was often mentioned in Home Movies & Home Talkies and their films were critiqued in and occasionally awarded prizes by, Amateur Cine World magazine. Furthermore, the BRFS showed an eagerness to experiment with technical innovations, notably sound and colour. Thus in Symphony of the Seasons (ca. 1936) we see the film-makers trialing Kodachrome, a two-colour process for the amateur market which had only been introduced in 1935. The results proved to be a success, "Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter were all depicted in the varying but colourful moods. So many films, produced by large and professional companies, which have supposed to be taken in natural colour, have been artificial and gaudy looking, simply because of over-colouring. But no such criticism can be levelled at the Bognor Society, It was one of the most natural colour films I have seen. The natural studies, flowers, fields, trees, etc. and studies from life were all realistic and excellently filmed." (Bognor Observer 17 March 1937). Indeed, the film became one of the Society's 'showpieces' - it was shown at several of their annual film shows in the 1930s and was used to encourage the revival of the BRFS following its enforced hiatus during the Second World War. Other films made by the Bognor Regis Film Society held at Screen Archive South East include Bognor Regis Review (1929 & 1930s) and Regis Review (1930s).

Screen Archive South East holds numerous films produced by other South East film societies including Haywards Heath Cine Society's [Horley Fire Brigade] (1939 - 1939) and Sevenoaks Cine Society's Sevenoaks Scrapbook (1937 - 1949?). Further documentation relating to the Bognor Regis Film Society can be found at the West Sussex Record Office

Related titles

Related resources

Books

Allen Eyles, Frank Gray, and Alan Readman. Cinema West Sussex: The First Hundred Years (West Sussex Papers) Chichester: Phillimore & Co Ltd, 1996

The book includes a concise history of the Bognor Regis Film Society. Copies are held at West Sussex Record Office and Screen Archive South East.

Collections

British Film Institute National Archive & BFI Reuben Library

The BFI National Library in London holds many ‘How To’ manuals and publications giving advice to the amateur film-maker and cine societies. The book catalogue is searchable online.
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections

West Sussex Record Office

"West Sussex Record Office collects and preserves the documentary and recorded heritage of the County of West Sussex." The West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) holds many items relating to the Bognor Regis Film Society including newspaper cuttings and programmes for the film shows organised by the Society.
http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure/explore_west_sussex/record_office_and_archives.aspx

The National Archives

The WSRO collections can also be searched on the National Archives website.
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Journals

Amateur Cine World

The British Film Institute Reuben Library holds copies of this journal which reports on the activities of the Bognor Regis Film Society often appeared in Amateur Cine World. The Society’s films were also critiqued and occasionally awarded prizes by the magazine.

Home Movies & Home Talkies

The British Film Institute Reuben Library holds copies of this journal which reports on the activities of the Bognor Regis Film Society often appeared in this magazine.

Newspapers

Bognor Regis Observer* (1890-)

The archive of this weekly local newspaper is held on microfilm at Chichester Library.
https://www.librariesni.org.uk/Libraries/Pages/Chichester-Library.aspx