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Great Display of Brock's Fireworks (1904)

| Documentary, Short


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Documentary | Short







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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A sensational colour film of a sensational fireworks display
24 February 2016 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

IMDb seems to have this film all over the place. It records Brock's Firework Display at Crystal Palace as 1902 (Warwick Trading Company) and has another Warwick title "Fireworks) as 1905, Fireworks Display at Crystal Palace (1904) and this title (both as Urban, 1904) The Brock's Firework display was indeed originally conceived in 1902 for the Coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandria and it is possible that this was filmed by Urban, and also that Urban filmed the Brock's displays several times. Brock's had developed in association with Crystal Palace (1851) (it even used "Crystal Palace" as a brand name) and produced regular displays there known as "Brock's Benefits".

There is, however, certainly a very sensational film that survives of the display at Crystal Palace, filmed probably in September 1905 (the 30th September was the last day of the show). The film is preserved in the collection of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema of Turin, is available on Vimeo, beautifully restored (2011), but dated (wrongly I think) 1904.

The film itself remarkable. It is shot at night and in natural colour (presumably a trial outing for the Smith/Urban Kinemacolor system which was patented in 1906 (hence unlikely to have been shot as early as 1904). As with other trial-films using the system, it seems likely that G. A. Smith was himself behind the camera.

But the fireworks are remarkable too (I do not why it is no longer possible for such magnificent displays to be put on. Too expensive?), a display that includes steamboats, a cock fight, a railway train and fine illuminated portraits of the King and Queen.

It is a film that really deserves to be much better known.

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