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Blurry Beach party film from the 1950s

The vintage home movie in this post dates from the 1950s or 1940s and shows a group of young people enjoying a beach party.

I bought a large selection of 8mm home movies from eBay a couple of weeks ago and when they turned up I found two surprises in the package. The first was a standard Kodak yellow and black, 3 inch Super 8 reel which had 9.5 written on it. When I opened the reel I found that it wasn’t Super 8 film, but rather a short home movie shot on 9.5 mm film which must make it quite early. Unfortunately, at the moment I don’t have a projector or scanner for 9.5mm film, so the only information I can gleen is by looking at the film with a loupe.

The other surprise is the film which I’ve featured in this post. It was amongst all the other Kodachrome reels, but on closer inspection I found it wasn’t a plastic reel but a metal one. That immediately got me interested because it meant it would be older than the other films in the pack (other than the 9.5mm film) and sure enough when I scanned it I found that it dates from probably the early 1950s, or possibly the late 1940s.

Beach Party film

The film is a standard 8 home movie and seems to feature a group of young people at a beach party somewhere on the coast in what I assume to be the UK. Unfortunately, because it is old and possibly because it wasn’t very accurately exposed, I had to make quite a few adjustments to the digital clip after the film had been scanned but even so the contrast of the resultant clip is not very high.

The film starts with some scenes taken at the beach and mostly shows members of the party running to the sea and back. There is the usual larking about which you would expect during a beach party, and quite a bit of reacting to the camera, which again is very common with early home movies – it was quite a novelty to see oneself on the screen, even if the screen was on your own home.

As a collector of vintage cameras I found the scene where one of the young men was taking a photo quite interesting. The camera seems to be a folding viewfinder camera which would probably date to around the period I think this film was taken – late 1940s or early 1950s – so I’ve taken that as confirmation of my estimate of the date.

Towards the end of the film there are some not very clear images of white cliffs which may allow identification of the location for someone who knows the area well – I’m hoping that a viewer of this post may be able to advice me of that using the comments form below.

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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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