Sky Arts and Baim Films

Big City

Registered: 8 April 1963
Duration: 24 minutes
Feet: 2,160
Board of Trade Certificate number: BR/E28387
Produced for: United Artists Corporation
Production Company: Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

London in 1962; Two way traffic in Bond Street, crowded Fleet Street, a glimpse from the Park Lane Hilton Hotel where concrete is still being laid to make the upper floors. There are many surprises and details in the unseen film about London; unseen since it's first cinema release nearly fifty years ago

Title Credits: Big City
Brought to you by: Edward Bishop
Photographed in Eastmancolor by: Alan Pudney
Music: De Wolfe
Recordist: Cyril Brown
Edited by: Peter Vincent
Produced by: Harold Baim
Directed by: Paul Weld Dixon

SCRIPT:

The motorway points a concrete finger across a country. A finger that points to London, capital city of England.

River Thames and Big Ben. The Houses of Parliament, guaranteeing a way of life that started with the signing of Magna Carta, The Great Charter, by King John, on the broad fields of Runnymede in 1215. Westminster Abbey, where the Kings and Queens of England have been crowned for a thousand years. Old stones, the pages of history, memories of Royal occasions, but perhaps the real living centre of London is not here but Piccadilly Circus.

They you only have to stand here long enough and everyone you know will pass by. From here thorough-fares radiate like spokes from the hub of a wheel. Come with me in a cab up the colonnaded Regent's Street of John Nash.

Then we'll ride down Bond Street. If you want to go shopping I'll wait while you look into the shop windows. If you can't see what you want here, well then let's try the Portobello market.

Down through the centauries there have been wars. And these statues stand, lest we forget.

Today, living in an age that longs for peace, craftsmen now turn their hands to fashion the memorials of peace.

I can't tell you what the sculptor had in mind when he designed this. But there is no mistaking the fine new buildings that sometimes seem to appear almost overnight across the sleeping face of London. Even if these new buildings are all around us certainly the old also remain. Nash, Adams, Grinling Gibbons; the perfect work of these master-minds remains to delight the eye and remind us of an elegant age that is past.

Elegant and very much of the present is Buckingham Palace, London home of the Royal Family; and only a mile away a metal Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson dreams of his victories at the Battle of the Nile and Trafalgar.

Fleet Street, a world of red-hot latest news of printing presses thundering in the night below street level so that you and I can have our favourite daily tomorrow.

Shaftsbury Avenue. Street of theatres and cinemas. A world of make believe for those who would escape reality even if only for a few hours.

Park Lane, a world of idle luxury. Caviar footmen and red plush curtains for those who can pay the bill.

Oldest of London's concert halls and one of my favourites is the Albert Hall. The concert is just beginning.

London's newest. The Festival Hall on the banks of the River Thames near Waterloo.

Presented in 1819 by Mohamed Ali, the Egyptian Viceroy, Cleopatra's Needle; a familiar landmark also stands by the river, which today, as in Roman times is the main artery of the capital.

Boats of as much as ten-thousand tons can sail up river, through Tower Bridge and into the upper pool of London into the very heart of the City.

To Limehouse, to watch the ships steam into town from out of the seven seas.

Sandalwood, cedarwood, cheap tin trays and sweet white wine. Look around; there are these and many other cargos on the move in dockland.

Evidence of England's historic past is the Tower of London where the little Princes, Edward and Richard, were murdered by order of Richard the third in 1483.

One hundred and eighty three years later London burned in the Great Fire of 1666. Wren built a tower and called it The Monument; his monument to a fire that all but destroyed the City still stands and from the top of its three hundred and eleven steps this view.

The City perpetuates street names which were in use in the days of Charles Dickens. Stronghold of tradition and to be something in the City is still worth something worth being.

The Royal Mint; here they make the money and print the notes. The Bank of England; here they keep the money. And in these banks you and I can sometimes draw a little money out.

All the banking houses of the world are represented here.

A top hat is regulation dress at the Stock Exchange.

A busy street. What's unusual about it? Look closer and there sandwiched between tall buildings is the cities smallest church. Not far away is Saint Mary-le-Bow. But most magnificent of them all is Christopher Wren's Cathedral of Saint Paul's. In Knightsbridge stands the Brompton Oratory. London abounds with interesting churches, like this one just off Park Lane, or this, the Danish church in Regent's Park.

Overlooking Trafalgar Square and close by the church of Saint Martin in the Fields is the national Gallery. Work on the building started in 1832 and today it houses works of art from all over the world.

Named after Sir Henry Tate and filled with wondrous works is The Tate Gallery. A Turner; a Renoir; a Lautrec; and a Rousseau.

The widow of Sir Richard Wallace presented her husbands lifetime collection to the nation now known as The Wallace Collection. Richard Parkes-Bonington's, Coast of Picardy; Sir Joshua Reynolds, Miss Bowles; Fragonard's The Swing; Franc Hal's The Laughing Cavalier.

Proof of the existence of Neolithic man and a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom, the Elgin Marbles; they are all here at The British Museum.

London's Royal Parks are unique. Saint James's, Regent's, Green, and here, the largest, Hyde Park. A cantor in Hyde Parks' Rotton Row is splendid exercise.

So few years ago a fashionable rendezvous for society. Today children are in great evidence. Away from the traffic they can ride their ponies in safety. Sail the Spanish Main in safety. Even this is possible with imagination, and a scale model. At the Round Pond in Kensington Garden's you'll find sailors, young and old.

In the Royal Botanical Garden's at Kew, stands this great Glass House known as The Palm House; a fantasy in cast iron and glass. Once the property of Queen Victoria the garden's have been open to the public since 1840 and today there are two hundred and eighty-eight acres to wander over at will.

Exotic leaves from a distant clime or the homely Laburnum, take your pick. At Kew you can look up through the branches of the trees and surprisingly in the centre of Mayfair you can do exactly the same thing.

Where offices stand in an almost sylvan setting; where Chesterfield Street can look back on the days of the Prince Regent but now must look up as this mighty new building reaches for the sky, floor by floor. High over London there is a small private world of steel, concrete, ingenuity and skill. When this job is finished there is more work ahead; work on a new office block, a new bridge across the river, another new underpass. London is a living growing changing place. Growing and changing as the needs of its people dictate. It's roots reach back into the dim and unremembered past its fingers stretch out towards the unknown and the future.

For me, for you, this is the Big City.