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  • Short Summary

    Cuts for documentary tracing an extraordinary road trip between Leeds and India in 1924.

  • Description

    Four reels of cuts exist for the documentary "Lure of the East" which traces an expedition by car from Leeds to India in 1924. It is very difficult to identify the locations featured in this material. Shots do not seem to be in any kind of order and some are linked by intertitles so were presumably part of the finished film. Further research will be undertaken.

    Reel 4 of cuts opens with intertitles: "The Barracks, built somewhat on Russian lines, in front of which the fatal attack on Major Imbrie took place - The Authorities here were most nervous for our safety and insisted on an armed escort accompanying us anywhere we went." Outside a building Armed soldiers get into the car with Forbes-Leith (location unknown). A western woman pets the Felix mascot on the explorers' car. She takes out her compact and powders her nose, then does the same to Felix.

    01:19:29 Intertitle says it was only by the help of a local Said that they managed to take any pictures at all here (location unspecified), for the natives are most fanatical and dangerous. Forbes-Leith shakes hands with the Said. Intertitle refers to shrine of the Sister of the Ninth Imam (shot seems to be missing).

    01:20:13 Felix drives across scrubland, past the black (charred) bones of a dead animal. Locals on a cart drawn by four horses pass Felix on the dirt road. Intertitle refers to Ispahan being the great capital of Persia in olden times (shot missing). Felix is then seen climbing up another steep incline, being towed by locals. Intertitle mentions "the lawless Sirvand Pass" (shot missing). Intertitle refers to "More sand - we had 900 miles of it - and life was a constant struggle. (Redknap said he never wanted to see any more sand - not even in an egg-boiler.)". Local men tow Felix through level sand. Intertitle says the men had walked 30 miles from the nearest village to help. The men run along pushing Felix. Forbes-Leith and local man syphon water into the radiator. Felix travels along desert scrubland and over rocky roads (helped by locals).

    Caravan of camels resting in the desert. Men attend to camels and goods they are carrying. L/S of the explorers setting up camp nearby.

    01:24:17 Intertitle says after 10 days struggle they struck the military railway, built during the war from the Indian frontier. Felix drives across desertland to the railway line (?). Intertitle: "We were now in Baluchistan, original home of tribal trouble on our Indian north-west frontier, and following the lines we made for Ware-Char - (In passing we would mention that we did about 250 miles [on the railway] sleepers.)". We see Felix setting off along the railway line. Indian man runs behind. More footage of Felix driving along, straddling the rail track - looks like a pretty bumpy ride.

    01:25:46 Intertitle refers to the stations on the lines being steel forts as the Afghan frontier hills and hill tribes are about ten miles away. Felix approaches locals men sitting on the tracks beside a building. Forbes-Leith leans out of the car and issues instructions (looks like "clear off"). Intertitle refers to the explorers being met by friends from the fortified post of Dalbandin, and cheered with the news that there had been a raid the previous night. Shot of people in middle-east town queuing for ice-cream at a stall and water at a fountain.

    01:27:03 Felix approaches a flooded part of a country road while one of the men wades in ahead to test the depth. Nice shot of the party under a canopy having a cigarette and a cup of tea (?). In a town, local men sit on the ground outside basic building. One of the explorers sits on a wheel axis and smokes his pipe. Brief travelling shot of boats in a harbour as we move over the water (Bosporus?).

    The explorers work with pickaxes to clear rubble from Felix's path on a mountain road. Local man stands watching.

    01:27:49 Title reads: "The Lure of the East. The film-record of the Forbes-Leith Expedition by [obscured by timecode on vhs copy] - 4" - film was presumably shown in serial form in cinemas. Intertitle reads: "The chief dangers are the sand storms and the terrific day heat (175 degrees in the sun - there isn't any shade.)". Very light M/S of Felix travelling across the desert. Intertitle decides to "draw a veil across this part of the trip", saying the next day they were thankful to meet some of the big transport cars en route for Baghdad. Two cars are parked on a desert road, seen from behind; one is probably Felix. Men stand around. As cars approach they wave at the drivers.

    01:29:10 Intertitle tells "It was here also we met two British travellers - one a lady - who incidentally was the first to cross this Syrian desert in an independent car." The party pack up their gear that was set up between the two cars. One man pours some water into the hands of a woman in a white dress and she splashes it on her face. Wroe drinks his washing ration. Intertitles inform us the group were approaching Baghdad and saw the great Tomb of the Sheik Omar in the distance; on the way they passed the remnants of one of the huge base camps, built by us during the war (shots missing, unfortunately!).

    01:30:29 Intertitle says "On to Kermanshah - sometimes known as the City of Seven Gates - a city of some 30,000 people". M/S of Felix travelling along a mountain road with valley in the background. Brief shot of Felix driving through Kermanshah; children run alongside; people carry trunks on their backs. Intertitle tells of the strange industry here of snow gatherers who sell frozen snow from the mountains in the city market (shot missing). Intertitle mentions the unique bread of Persia and we see a funny sequence where a bread seller taking a large, flat piece of bread from a wall and giving it to one of the explorers. He wraps it around his waist like a cummerbund then takes a chunk of the bread and eats it. The vendor seems amused, but is perhaps a little anxious as to whether he will see any money for it! The man rolls the bread up, puts it under his arm like a towel and strolls off.

    01:31:53 title says Tak-i-Bustan was the next objective, where they paused at an old Roman reservoir and reputed tomb of Chrosoes (shot missing). We see the Felix car travelling along a barren stretch of land in a valley, surrounded by mountains. Intertitle mentions the gilt on the carvings (on tomb of Chrosoes?) is still visible after 1,800 years (shot missing). Intertitle mentions an almost sheer 800-feet cliff, which the local boys regularly climb (flashframe of someone climbing the cliff). Intertitle refers to Bisitun, 27 miles further on, where they observed more carvings on the cliff face by Darius (shot missing).

    End of Reel 4 of cuts.

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  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:18:23:00 / 01:32:50:00

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