Newly released, and fourth in the series of 'Look at Life' compilations, is one which comprises films with a sporting connection. Those TNFers of a certain age will recall, probably quite fondly, the short documentaries produced by the Rank Organisation which preceded the Pearl and Dean ad breaks in cinemas during the 1960s, and which were designed to replace the increasingly outmoded newsreel feature.
Of the 42 films included, all in glorious colour, there are five with a motor sport connection.
First is 'Kings of Speed' from 1959, centring on the British GP at Aintree that year and including a visit to the Cooper factory and drawing office featuring Owen Maddock at his drawing board, the Cooper racing school at Brands Hatch with Ian Burgess delivering a classroom lecture, and Jack Brabham testing at Brands, paddock shots at Aintree followed by footage of the race itself.
'Smashing Through' (1960) follows competirors in the world of British stock-car racing, acquiring components at typical scrapyards of the period, and we see 16 year-old Alan Wardropper (later of Scholar engines) building his car to race alongside his father while we also see John Brise leaving his Kent pig farm with stock car in tow, as he is waved off by 9 year-old Tony, neatly turned out, complete with regulation school jumper.
'Against the Clock' (1960) is an excellent production covering the 1960 RAC Rally, with commentary by Raymond Baxter, in which the producers mounted a camera in a Rootes entry of a Humber Super Snipe estate. Film covers preparation in the Rootes workshops, scrutineering, the start, and day and night stages. Competitors featured include Pat Moss/Ann Wisdom in a Sprite, Johnny Wallwork in a Volvo P544, Ewy Rosqvist, Sydney Allard and Anne Hall, who won the Ladies' Prize in her Anglia. The final test was a five-lap race at Brands and it concludes with the prizegiving to Eric Carlsson/Stuart Turner.
'In the Kart' (1964) looks at the growth of karting following its introduction to the UK and a pleasant surprise was to se 12 year-old Stephen South taking his first steps towards becoming British F3 champion. Racing at Lakenheath Airfield features, under the watchful eye of Captain Quinn.
'Racing to the Start' (1967) looks at racing car builders starting with Brian Hampsheir building the Briham '...in his mother's bedroom...', then moving on to Piper where the first the GT and F3 car were taking shape under the supervision of George Henrotte and Bob Gaylor, and concluding with Lotus, where the 41 and 47 were being prepared for the 1967 Racing Car Show. The film travels to Olympia to see the cars displayed, and finishes at Brands with in-car footage of Syd Fox testing the Piper followed by an F3 race, and includes a sports car race won by Keith St John and the Radio London McLaren M1B.
There is also motor racing interest in 'Four Men Down' (1960) with Henry Taylor preparing for, and taking part in the bobsleigh world championships.
The other subjects cover cricket, Grand National, football and preparations for the 1966 World Cup, mountaneering, fishing, golf etc. etc. All heavily laden with a delightful period charm.
Edited by Alan Cox, 31 August 2012 - 08:43.