Film ID:
YFA 458

THE STORY OF AN AIR-CRUISE TO LEBANON, SYRIA, AND JORDAN

1963

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a film by Charles Chislett of a tour he and his wife Grace made of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Intertitles and the use of maps throughout the film indicate the geographical position and historical events. The film is in two parts.

Title - The story of an air-cruise to . . . Lebanon . . . Syria . . . And Jordan

The film begins with the route of their journey across the Mediterranean Sea outlined on a map. Next there is a London street, and then Grace is chatting with another couple at Knightsbridge Air Terminal. The plane, named 'Eros', is being prepared and the passengers board. At another airport, possibly in south France, there are signs indicated the distances to various cities. There is some film taken of the flight.

Intertitle - On arrival in Athens at 2am. We set out for Lycabettus after breakfast

The city is filmed from street level and from high up. Some local wildflowers are filmed in close up. From a vantage point high up, sightseers look over the city, and there is a newspaper stall with various papers on display. In Athens a guard in traditional uniform stands to attention.

Intertitle - The Acropolis is a favourite Sunday afternoon destination

Sightseers wander around the Acropolis.

Intertitle - Once in the traffic it was comforting to know that the plane would wait!

They get stuck in a traffic jam in a busy Athens street and then arrive at the airport. The next stage of their journey across the Mediterranean is shown on the map, and the coast is filmed from the air inside the pilot's cabin.

Intertitle - We flew into Beirut during a violent storm

Passengers disembark in the rain and get into waiting cars. They take a tour of the city, passing a sports stadium, filming local people. They visit a museum, and continue driving through the city and walking the streets. They film the local people, including a herdsman and his goats, lemons growing on the trees, the roadside sellers and stalls. They travel up winding hills and around the fields. Their companions pose next to wax effigies. There are some ramshackle houses, and again their journey is shown on a map going from Palestine up the coast to Lebanon.

Intertitle - Transport trouble

A group of Palestinians gather around talking, as their bus stands motionless. A baker comes out carrying a large tray of bread which he sells. Two men play musical instruments while young girl does a belly dance for those waiting.

Intertitle - Generals from RaesesI II to Allenby used the Dog River Gorge

They look over the gorge and at memorial for the freeing of Syria and Lebanon in 1941, and other memorials, as well as the surrounding area.

Intertitle - Byblos has existed as a town through nineteen civilizations. When Byblos was already six thousand years old the crusaders built a castle there. They tour the castle ruins, showing some of the wild flowers.

Intertitle - This harbour of Byblos was famous throughout the Mediterranean World, two thousand years ago, for the export of purple cloth of Tyre, and Papyrus Rolls: (known as "Biblia" to the Greeks) - from which we get the word 'Bible'

More of the ruins and local area is shown, and a woman bakes unleavened bread.

Intertitle - Next morning we set out for Baalbek in the Great Rift Valley

The route is again shown on the map, and their car is prepared at a Shell garage. They film their drive, following other cars, a Mercedes and a Citroen, stopping to film the mountains and fields. They park in front of a road sign with lots of destinations marked. They meet a man and boy on donkeys with a camel carrying a green crop.

Intertitle - Baalbek is majestic in a setting which would dwarf an ordinary city yet beautiful against the delicate spring tracery of poplars touched with green

They show the ruins, and a girl holds a baby goat. Local children pose for the camera and other sightseers take film.

Intertitle - The Temple of Bacchus

After looking around the ruins of the temple they continue their journey, passing people on foot. On arrival in the city, they show the streets and markets, and goods being loaded onto a ship in the harbour. A horse drawn water tank passes by. People dry their clothes by the sea. Holidaymakers are fishing and sunbathing.

They arrive at the airport and the next stage of their journey is shown on the map, taking them to Damascus. The flight is filmed. Again they wander the streets and markets of the city. There is a minor scuffle. Some aeroplanes are stood in the gardens of what looks like a Palace. There is an ancient building and more people walking around the streets and markets. Muslims take off their shoes on entering a large temple. Someone reads the Koran as visitors to the temple wander around. Visitors put on covers over their shoes. Outside a man sells drinks poured from an ornate metal urn on his back. Sheep and goats graze on the roadside outside a Christian Church. Elsewhere there are more ruined buildings and young people hanging around. They take another car trip through the outskirts of the city and out to an ancient town set in the hillside. They continue again passing markets and people.

Intertitle - The sun-scorched ruins of Palmyra - ancient caravan city and "Tadmor in the wilderness" of the Bible - lies 140 miles north east of Damascus - nearly in the middle of the Syrian Desert.

Passengers board a bus at Damascus airport from where they take a flight, on Syrian Arab Airlines, filming the take off and land below. On arrival children stand around the airstrip, and the film comes to an end.

Part 2
Intertitle - The dung-beetles were busy in the desert

Prolonged film of dung beetles, before returning to the ruins, with more ruins on the hills and scattered around nearby. The visitors get taken to an underground site. They re-board their plane and fly over the site.

Intertitle - Back in Damascus

Grace has a look around an ornament shop, and there are some more street scenes before they are back at the airport.

Intertitle - Next day we fly 150 miles south to Jerusalem

The route is traced on the map, followed by showing the land and built up areas around Jerusalem

Intertitle - From the Church of the Scourging the Via Dolorusa is full of distractions - as it has always been

They watch the people come and go in the streets around the church, where two men carry large cases tied to their back, and another man is filming also. They go around a bazaar.

Intertitle - On the roof tops near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre the Abyssinian Monks have their own chapel

The Abyssinian Monks sit outside of their chapel.

Intertitle - The view of Jerusalem is shown from the Mount of Olives

The view is shown, including herdsmen with their goats.

Intertitle - Church of Pater Noster

Around the church are plaques in many different languages. Outside of the city walls there are more herdsmen with their flocks, gardens and more historic sites.

Intertitle - The road to Bethlehem

They visit various places on their journey to Bethlehem.

Intertitle - Bethany

They look around the old and new buildings of the ancient village.

Intertitle - The road from Jerusalem to Jericho

They travel en route to Jericho, stopping off at archaeological sites. A herd of goats, accompanied by a woman dressed all in black, drink at a river.

Intertitle - The Dead Sea can look welcoming

Their male travel companion dives into the sea, along with other younger swimmers, demonstrating the buoyancy of the water, whilst Grace walks along the beach with their female companion. They visit a gold domed building and other sights. The next stage of their trip is shown on two maps, going through Syria and Jordan.

Intertitle - East of the mountains of Moab

A train of young camels are herded across open land, followed by a herd of goats. Chickens and their chicks run free. The touring party stop for refreshment.

Intertitle - The crusader castle at Karak

They walk around the grounds of the ruined castle and other buildings before driving off along long dusty roads. A steam train is seen in the distance.

Intertitle - 180 miles south of Amman and 37 miles west of the main road to Akaaba we approach the barren hills which hide Petra

The holidaying party continue their tour on horseback.

Intertitle - The Gorge writhes between 400 ft. cliffs which are sometimes only 10 ft. apart

They pass through the narrow gorge to see the temple on the other side. There is a sign for 'Petra'. They explore the rest of the historic site.

Intertitle - Morning

Two men wash and shave outside the cave in which they spent the night, whilst a woman stretches her arms. There is a row of tents where the holidaymakers wander around.

Intertitle - After breakfast we set out for the Mount of Sacrifice; 4,000 ft. above the camp

They explore the mount with its buildings built into the sides, with sheep and goats grazing nearby. Their guide gives a talk. They continue to explore the entire area.

Intertitle - After two nights in the caves - north to Ammoan and Jerash

As they drive out of the city they pass lots of herdsmen and their flocks, until they arrive at more ruins with a large amphitheatre and lots of classical columns.

Intertitle - This was the last of many memories of Jerusalem

Groups of people are gathered around cars collecting their luggage, and they take a flight, arriving at Nicosia International Airport. They explore the area around Nicosia, including the wildlife. They take another flight and the film ends with a stewardess leaving a plane.