Look at Life

Classic Sports Car - - Books -

From 1959-’69, these Rank Or­gan­i­sa­tion trav­el­ogues were as much a part of an evening at the cin­ema as the B-fea­ture and the news­reel, fea­tur­ing thrilling footage of Porsche 356s pa­trolling au­to­bahns or new Rover 2000s be­ing put through their paces. Many were nar­rated by the vel­vet-voiced Tim Turner and they bril­liantly cap­ture that odd pe­riod when the last days of steam and gas-lit streets co-ex­isted with a brave new world of fly­overs and Mor­ris Mini-minors.

In 1959’s The Mar­ket (with guest com­men­ta­tor Sid James in full Han­cock’s Half Hour guise) there’s an Au­dax-se­ries Hill­man Minx parked out­side a new su­per­mar­ket, and in 1960’s Shop­ping By The Ton, Mor­ris-com­mer­cial lor­ries pack the streets around Covent Gar­den. In fact, the fascination of any Look at Life ex­tends far be­yond the Trans­port boxset: these short films cap­ture, in pin­sharp colour, street scenes, mo­tor­ing vi­gnettes and even so­cial mores of the 1960s. ‘Big Bed­fords’ lum­ber along the early mo­tor­ways, Bryl­creemed pedes­tri­ans smoke Wood­bines as they me­an­der back to the of­fice and Daim­ler DC27 am­bu­lances over­take duffle-coated cy­clists do­ing ‘The Knowl­edge.’ It is a world that now ap­pears al­most as re­mote as the Vic­to­rian era – and one of end­less in­ter­est.

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