Film ID:
NEFA 14614



Visitor Tabs


A home movie made by Ruth Jacobson a cruise holiday take by her and her husband Lionel around the West Indies aboard the S.S. Antilles in 1958. The film begins with passengers taking part on the “Mysteries of the Deep” ceremony, a traditional Equator-crossing initiation rite that commemorates a sailor's first crossing. This is followed by visits to a number of tropical locations including Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico as well as Caracas in Venezuela.

The film opens on a group of passengers onboard the S.S. Antilles dressed in various maritime costumes participate in the “Mysteries of the Deep” ceremony as the ship crosses the Equator. Costumes that can be identified include King Neptune, Davy Jones, and Her Highness Aphrodite. A second group of passengers are lead to the ship’s swimming pool, seated on a plank and covered in gunk before being thrown into the pool.

The film cuts to a still in a travel brochure about the Caribbean island of Martinique before changing to show ships moored in the harbour at Fort-de-France with the town in the background.  On land, a man holds a chicken by the neck. There are various views of fishing boats and nets on a beach with palm trees. A group of men lead a cart of sugar cane pulled by oxen. Two women and a man stand on the deck of a ship followed by another man looking out to sea with binoculars.

A still of a travel brochure title page identifies the next destination as Guadeloupe. General views of a busy market at Basse-Terre follow. Back onboard ship views of the harbour and town as well as of passengers sunbathing and socialising.

Puerto Rico is the next stop and views of Old San Juan from the roof of the El Morra Fort. Two men stand by the fort wall and are joined by a woman in a blue dress. General views of El Morra Fort followed by the three people climbing up a series of steps. The film cuts to shots of sunbathers beside a hotel swimming pool followed by a group of people enjoying a meal [out of focus]. Back on board the ship, some of the passengers sunbathe on deck.

Following a still from a travel brochure views of rowing boats rowing towards land from the cruise ship. A musical group performs under a canopy. A woman in a hat sits on a wall next to a red-flowering bush, a mountain range in the background. Walking along a street a woman carries several large wicker baskets on her head. The sequence closes with a view of a harbour and town seen from the ship.

The film cuts to a policeman directing  traffic next to “The Canadian Bank”. There is a views of a tropical garden. A man hands a woman a flower before posing beside a car. A soldier stands to attention outside a building with the Union Jack flying on the flagpole.

In the next sequence a view of a large industrial “Shell” refinery and  dockside with moored tankers. General views of the port and city from a bridge are followed by busy street scenes. The film switches to views of the arrival of the cargo ship “Sydhar” which enters the harbour and passing the camera.

Another still of a travel brochure announces the location of the next sequence as Caracas, Venezuela. View from a car travelling through the city showing a twin towered building sporting a huge Pepsi Cola bottle hoarding and modern building complex. A woman takes a photograph. There are views of an equestrian statue intercut with three men stand on diving boards beside a hotel swimming pool. The sequence ends with views of the Antilles docked along a quayside.

General views of a street carnival taking place with people in African tribal costume parading with banners. Various floats pass by, including a tropical fruit designed vehicle and Egyptian themed float. Crowds of people are in a stadium as more floats arrive.

A group of men swim in the sea near to the Antilles with another steam ship docked in the harbour. More views of the harbour and beach, and a woman relaxing in the grounds of a house. Shots of a tropical beach and huts close this holiday film.