|Title ID||3164||Collection ID||694|
|Title||Symphony of the Seasons|
|Collection||Bognor Regis Film Society|
|Theme||Rural Life Cine Club Film-making|
|Keywords||Autumn Beaches Clubs Farming Leisure Time Activities Rural Areas Sea Fishing Seasons Ships Spring Summer|
|Format||16mm Colour Silent|
|Duration||11 min. 25 sec.|
|Copyright & Access||Copyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details|
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.
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.
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