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A memorable cruise on the Rhine in 1975

The super 8 vintage home movie featured in this post was taken during a trip to Germany in about 1975 and includes a long sequence of a river cruise on the Rhine.

Although this film is Super 8, it unfortunately doesn’t have the improved image quality which is normally associated with the bigger photo area which defines super 8. This is because the film is in pretty poor condition, with some sort of sticky layer which has built up over the film surface. One slight positive is that this contamination is on the film base side rather than the actual emulsion of the film, but it still affects the quality of the image.

Once I found that the film was dirty in this way I tried cleaning it with a mixture of IPA1 and white mineral oil at a mixture of 80/20, but it was only partially successful.

There is no information of the film reel saying when or where it was taken so the information in this post is all based on the evidence of the film itself. The location I am certain of because of landmarks in the film; the date could be wrong but it must be fairly close to 1975 because of the design of the cars shown and the clothes the people are wearing. Also, in one scene on the river boat, a man is seen with a 110 format camera, and that film format was introduced by Kodak in 1972, so the film must be post that date.

Cruise on the Rhine

The majority of the film shows a cruise on the rhine and includes several landmarks which make identifying the location quite easy. The simplest place to locate is at about 3 minutes into the film, when there is a sequence which shows the Niederwalddenkmal monument which celebrated the unification of Germany in 1870, but there are also several named stations in the film and several towns which could provide clues.

At about 10 minutes into the film there is a train station shown, with an announcement board showing the time of the next train. I hoped there would be a date showing so I could get an accurate date the film was shot, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

One other interesting point I noticed is that on some scenes, where the cameraman pans over the mountains, the exposure is adjusting as the amount of skyline increases. This implies that the camera has an automatic exposure system which is compensating for the additional light.


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If you see anything in the film which you recognise, or you think gives clues to the location or date, please let me know in the comments below. Also, please share this post with your friends if you think they may be able to help locate a scene in this film.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.

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