Title ID 7492Collection ID141
TitleCruise Crossing on SS Montcalm
Date3 - 16 June 1939
Genre/TypeAmateurFamily Home MovieIndependent AmateurNon-fictionTravel
KeywordsBoats Family Harbours Holidays Landscape Railway Stations Rural Areas Ships Street Trading Tourism Travel Urban Areas National Dress
LocalFunchal Santa Cruz Casablanca Rabat-Salé Lisbon
NationalMadeira Tenerife Morocco Portugal Europe Africa
ProductionEmile Lauste
CameraEmile Lauste; Bessie Lauste
FormatMixed Colour and Black & White Silent
Duration17min. 50sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This film features Emile and Bessie Lauste on a two-week cruise holiday onboard the Canadian Pacific SS Montcalm. They are accompanied by another couple and are seen together relaxing onboard the ship and exploring places of interest on route, including locations in Madeira, Tenerife, Morocco and Portugal.


“Scenes during cruise by Canadian Pacific SS Montcalm, 3rd to 16th June, 1939 (Gross – 16, 400 tonnage)”

After hand written titles, the film opens with Bessie and (?) throwing a hoop over a net on the deck of the ship; Bessie and (?) pose for the camera. The other passengers on board are seen relaxing - activities include sunbathing, swimming and a ‘greasy pole’ game. The passengers gather on the deck to view land coming into sight; the camera captures the hills of Madeira in the background as Bessie relaxes on a sun lounger on deck. As the ship nears land it is surrounded by small rowing boats; Funchal can be seen in the distance.

“Snapshots around Funchal, Madeira and Ribeiro Frio (2,900 ft) reached by motor car via Poiso Pass (4,600 ft) above sea level”

The film shows street scenes, flowers and Bessie and (?) walking through a park in Funchal. Scenes of the countryside are shot from a moving vehicle. Bessie and (?) are seen walking off into a green valley along a footpath, they stop to talk to a local child, before entering a traditional looking house; dark shots of the interior of the house. Back on the outskirts of Funchal a sledge is seen being pushed down a steep cobbled road and a local woman dressed in red dresses sell red flowers from the roadside. Bessie poses with a bunch of flowers outside a market stand selling fabric and cloth. A group of women in long red garments stand outside the entrance to The Monte Railway a sign above reads The Mount Railway Company... Terreiro da Luta ... Monte.

“Views in and about Santa Cruz, Tenerife, 9th June 1939”

The section opens with a very brief shot of the ship moored out at sea. Bessie and (?) are seen getting into a car, and exploring Santa Cruz, including a museum, where statues are on display, and a garden on a hillside. Back on board the ship, Bessie is seen swimming with a lifebuoy in the pool.

“Casablanca and Rabat-Salé, Morocco, Souks (native markets), Sultans Palace, Hassan Tower, Oudias Gardens”

Bessie is seen boarding a train and wandering around the town; local people pass by and look towards the camera. (?) is filmed walking across a large courtyard. From this point on the film is shot in black and white. There are more street scenes, Bessie stands near a donkey which is being used to draw water from a well. She poses with some local children before the group board a train at Rabat Ville station. On board, the group are seen having tea. At a stop on route Bessie is seen with a large group of people looking at a street stall.

“Lisbon, Portugal. Peeps at the convent of Jeronymos, the Bull Ring and the Botanical Gardens”

This section opens with Bessie and (?) walking down the gangway from the ship and cuts to some brief footage of the group exploring the convent, bull ring and botanical gardens. The film ends with some dark and grainy shots of people on board the ship at night wearing fancy dress.


A colour still image taken from TID 7492, showing the film maker documenting the gathering of tourists and locals dressed in traditional clothing stood outside the Monte Railway Station entrance in Funchal, Madeira (Portugal).
A colour wide still image taken from TID 7492, showing the SS Canadian Pacific steam liner SS Montcalm at sea, as viewed from another boat on the water.
A black and white still image taken from TID 7492, showing a bustling market street in Morocco. Locals dressed in traditional pale coloured 'Throbes' (long ankle length shirts) fill the street, as they pass the camera.