Europe 1914

Balloon Accident at St Cloud (Paris)
Without Credits. UK 1914
Print: BFI National Archive

“Newsreels rarely caught accidents as they occurred, but in this case, the cameras were rolling at the Saint Cloud Aéro-Parc when a gigantic balloon was torn apart mid-flight by a gust of wind. Luckily its passenger, Madame Surcouf, was unharmed, and the resulting footage is spectacular: the balloons bob and sway precariously on their tethers before the airborne ‘Rubis’ deflates dramatically.
The Saint Cloud Aéro-Parc was home to the Aéro-Club de France, which pioneered competitive air-ballooning for sport and entertainment. The sport was enjoying its popularity peak at the time this film was shot (possibly during the club’s annual Grand Prix).”
BFI

Palace Pandemonium
P: British Pathé. UK 1914
Print: BFI National Archive

“The newsreel cameras were in place to catch suffragette pioneer Emmeline Pankhurst’s arrest at Buckingham Palace – the latest episode in her ongoing public campaign for women’s votes. Intent on personally petitioning the King, Emmeline got as far as the gates before the police stepped in. Yet the film privileges the police presence, showing Emmeline being frogmarched away from the scene.
‘Arrested at the gates of the Palace. Tell the King!’, Pankhurst reportedly shouted as the police dragged her away. The suffragettes were shrewdly aware of the power of the press; this incident was one of several headline-grabbing stunts lapped up by the newsreels.”
BFI

Sea Dreams
Without Credits. UK 1914
Print: BFI National Archive

“Maintaining public confidence in Britain’s naval prowess was a key propaganda priority in WWI. Here, celebrated illustrator Lancelot Speed conjures up images of Drake and Nelson to contrast with the more recent ambitions of the German navy. By a fortunate coincidence, the film was released just two days after Britain’s victory at sea in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.”
BFI