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A Fascinating look at East Berlin in 1973

This post features an 8mm film which was taken in Germany and the city of Berlin in Oct 1973 and offers a fascinating look at East Berlin.

The film was taken on Agfa standard 8 film during what I believe was a business trip. Unfortunately, the film has suffered somewhat from age and mould growth and is not as clear as it would have been when originally shot, but since it seems to be historically significant, I thought it met one of the criteria for inclusion on the site.

One of the ways the film has suffered over the years is that the colour has almost completely faded from the emulsion leaving what is in many scenes an almost black & white film, although with a colour cast.

Because some of the footage in this film was shot from a moving car I ran the digitised version through a stabilization routine in order to take out some of the resulting shake.

Film of Germany and East Berlin

The film is labelled with some text which indicates it was filmed in Frankfurt and Berlin, and I’ve worked out that the clock shown at the midpoint in the film was at Goslar.

The film starts with some scenes of the River which I assume to be the River Main since this flows through Frankfurt. There are then shots of the city including trams and general street scenes before the action moves to some shots taken through the window of a coach.

It could be that the coach as a tourist outing, or possibly the trip the photographer was on used a coach for transport.

The coach passes through a village with a tower which could be Goslar, because the next scenes were the easiest to find with a google search. I started to type, ‘clock with moving people’ into my search page and it offered ‘famous clock in Germany with moving people’ as a suggestion. Once I chose that I could see the clock just as it appears in the film.

After the scenes showing the clock animation the film moves onto Berlin and we see the views over the Berlin wall to the Brandenburg gate and other scenes. It’s a real shame that the film is such poor quality because although not unique in anyway, it is still a fascinating insight into a divided Germany.

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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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