A Note from Vivian-Brann

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Some Interesting Information concerning Motor Racing and Films

Since you published my notes about the 27 cars I have owned in the last 12 years I have received many pleasant letters from your readers asking about “stills” and lengths of film from newsreels and pictorials I have been concerned with, and it might be helpful to say a word about the treatment proposed in films other than straight newsreels. As far as the latter are concerned the amount of footage allowed for a motor (or any other) item depends on two things: (1) the popularity of the subject matter; (2) the other news events covered that week and their importance in contemporary times. I think that most of your readers will agree that motoring enthusiasts are a comparatively limited sect of the populace, though their degree of enthusiasm does much to increase their “audience-value.” To deal with the situation at present I have shot at two events (Elstree speed trials and Prescott), and in the “Pathe Pictorial” in which my material will appear, we have used the scenes taken in the abstract sense, which really means that the film will not be dated or located, but will be a visual study of a “speed trial.” As a matter of interest some of the cars and personalities featured include Abecassis and his Alta (Abecassis was most helpful in providing some excellent wheelspin shots at his works at Walton), John Bolster, Dorothy Patten, Marcus Chambers, Anthony Heal, and some quick-shots, all intercut, of some dozen of the cars at the Elstree meeting. The Bugatti Owners’ Club are seen in action in the hill-climb scenes. In endeavouring to get some moving shots, Mr. Price very kindly provided his V8 Price Special (I kept calling it an Allard!) which proceeded to ruin the shot by accelerating away from a racing E.R.A. and Maserati. My shouts of “Go slower” could not be heard!

As far as still photographs are concerned, the position is made extremely difficult by lack of printing paper and, contrary to popular belief, film companies do not get unlimited supplies. Naturally, where special help has been forthcoming, every attempt is made, and the fact that so much help is usually available still further increases the demand.

As far as private cars are concerned my list of 27 has now become 28 — the last change, I hope. A V8-engined Jensen Special just about hits the nail on the head and buying an oil-filler dust-cap the other day for 8d. reminds me of the “Detroit Magic” article in a past edition of Motor Sport