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To the Coast of Devon (1950)

Approved | | Documentary, Short | 15 July 1950 (USA)
The first half of this Traveltalk entry (4-1/2 minutes) is spent in the town of Bath, where we learn about the long history and architecture of the area. We then go to the coastal resort ... See full summary »
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James A. FitzPatrick ...
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The first half of this Traveltalk entry (4-1/2 minutes) is spent in the town of Bath, where we learn about the long history and architecture of the area. We then go to the coastal resort towns of Teignmouth and Torquay. Written by David Glagovsky <dglagovsky@prodigy.net>

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Documentary | Short

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Approved
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15 July 1950 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound System)

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(Technicolor)
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Down By the Sea
Performed by studio chorus
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Down By the Sea in Torquay
10 July 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

James A. FitzPatrick directed, produced, wrote, and narrated many travel documentaries distributed as short subjects (one reelers--about ten minutes) to theaters throughout the nation, called "Traveltalks" by MGM, mainly in the 40's and early 50's. One advantage FitzPatrick enjoyed over his competition was Technicolor at a time when shorts and most movies were in black and white. "Traveltalks" were intended to show the tourist attractions and historical significance of the places visited. As FitzPatrick once affirmed, "Who wants to tour slums and prisons?"

"To the Coast of Devon" spotlights three appealing towns in the region of Devon, England (The United Kingdom), the old Roman village of Bath on the Avon River and the two coastal resort towns of Teignmouth and Torquay. A song was composed for this short feature to be used as the closing theme, "Down By the Sea in Torguay," which I doubt made the top pop list in 1950.

The producer, director, writer, and narrator also stars in this Traveltalk. When one visited the Roman bath in Bath during Queen Victoria's rein, he rode in a human-powered conveyance called a taxi chair which looked much like a rickshaw. Once finished with his bath, the person would then return to his taxi chair which would be arranged to resemble a small privy to protect his body from the sudden change in temperature. FitzPatrick demonstrates this for us on camera.

The architecture of Bath is highlighted, featuring an ancient church with a ladder-like structure atop it, with carved angels ascending to heaven in a rather precarious manner. So much time is spent in Bath that little footage is left for Teignmouth and Torquay. Both appear to be beautiful seaside resorts. FitzPatrick points out that Teigmouth was able to fend off an attack by the French in the early days of its existence and was more than ready for Hitler had he dared attack the town.

"Traveltalks" are quaint little travel documentaries today, mainly showing the viewer what the world looked like way back when. Technicolor adds to their appeal, making them look less antique than others of the period. They should still be of interest to the travel buff, particularly from a historical perspective.


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