The BRM Collection, Vols I & II
Terrific Stuff Videos. 50 mins & £17.99 each
Footage of the first six years of BRM, originally a series of brief documentaries put together by the Owen Organisation, has been exhumed and converted to VHS format.
As with every release we have seen from Terrific Stuff to date, this is good news. On average, the ‘films’ last around 16 minutes, and each captures the highlights of successive seasons from 1950-55. Volume II, covering 1952-1955, is all shot in colour, though it has faded a little with age, and the speed at which both volumes were filmed is a trifle curious.
There are sequences during which the BRM V16 appears to be travelling faster than Project Thrust, and marshals are strutting around like Linford Christie an inch from the tape. . .
The commentary could have been taken straight from a Pathé news reel. It’s plummy in tone, and jingoistic in content, with consistent reminders of how BRM is doing it all for mother Britain. Given that it was all put together by Owen in the first place, a pro-BRM tone would be understandable, though early tribulations are covered in detail, even if “bad luck” is usually the excuse offered for technical hiccoughs.
Eagle-eyed viewers will spot that Sir Alfred Owen still found a use for his cars, even when they’d had a disappointing weekend. At Dundrod in 1952 he lights a consolation cigarette by igniting his match on the rear suspension in the pit lane. . .
The fact that any of this material still exists at all should be a source of celebration. Although surviving footage of race meetings at Goodwood is in reasonable supply, there can’t be much around from Charterhall, Boreham, lbsley or Turnberry, where the art of pit signalling appeared to consist of a mechanic walking into the centre of the circuit and dangling a blackboard under Reg Parnell’s nose.
For full details, Terrific Stuff can be contacted at 23 Cambridge Road, East Twickenham, Middlesex TW1 2HN (Tel. 081 891 1872). S A