Monday, March 03, 2008

1906 Color Film About Scottish Tartans!

Yes, that's right, a complete 2-and-a-half-minute 1906 color film about Scottish tartans. It has a soothing, meditative effect. Enjoy!

The film is from the BFI's YouTube page (which came to my attention courtesy of The Bioscope). The fascinating technical aspect is the very early color film process, which The Bioscope has recently dedicated a lot of posts to. Here is the blurb about the tartan film from the BFI's YouTube page:

It's common knowledge that Scotsmen are macho enough to pull off wearing a skirt - perhaps it's all that caber-tossing. This disarmingly simple film concentrates on the tartan cloths of various clans rather than the men who wore them, and is an early filmic reminder of their huge importance to both Scottish national identity and the thriving tourist industry north of the border.

The film's unique selling point was that pioneering filmmaker G. A. Smith showed off the vibrant designs in Kinemacolor, among the earliest colour film processes that didn't involve meticulous hand-painting. And no dangly bits in sight. (Simon McCallum)

For more information about filmmaker G. A. Smith see

You can watch almost 1000 other complete films and TV programmes at the Mediatheque at BFI Southbank -


Luke McKernan said...

It's worth noting that this is actually two films: TARTANS OF SCOTTISH CLANS and WOMAN DRAPED IN PATTERNED HANDKERCHIEFS. Both are demonstration or tester films for the Kinemacolor process and weren't released as such. Also the colour isn't true Kinemacolor, which can only been seen through live projection, but of course it's close enough.


Jonathan Lapper said...

True or not it's pretty damn cool seeing color film from 102 years ago.