Film ID:
NEFA 22163



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A narrative based home movie produced by Peter Dobing in 1951 of a family Christmas primarily made in the filmmaker's home in the village of Haughton-le-Skerne, now part of Darlington. The family make home-made Xmas crackers and decorate the Christmas tree. A trip into Darlington for some Christmas shopping is followed by the extended family enjoying drinks in front of a roaring fire before they all open their presents. The final part of the film, shot in colour, features portrait views of each member of the family and a decorated Christmas cake.

Title: Family Magazine Fifth

Title: Christmas 1951

The film opens with general views of leaves blowing along Salters Lane South in the village of Haughton-le-Skerne.  A man on a bicylce rides past St Andrews church towards the junction of Haughton Road. The wind blows the leaves along the empty road and shakes the branches of a bare tree.

Ann, Peter’s sister, looks out of the living room window before coming to sit beside her father who is looking through an album of Christmas and New Years cards. The album is passed to Peter sitting nearby who begins to flick through it

A pile of crepe paper and cards for the making of Christmas crackers. Peter’s father gets up and walking towards the door. He turns and proceeds to blow up a balloon before leaving the room. Ann looks over at him and laughs.

Ann and her mother make Christmas crackers by the fire, Ann rolling the crepe paper around tubes on her knees. Finished crackers are quality checked by Peter.

Peter returns home carrying a large Christmas tree.

A cracker and balloons decorate a wall.

Sitting on the living room carpet, Ann carefully unwraps the Christmas lights placing them on the floor beside her. Her brother Peter screws each bulb into the cord. On the floor, there's one broken light.

Ann turns out the living room light as the camera pans down to the lit Christmas lights on a chair. Peter decorates the Christmas tree with fairy lights.

The family go Christmas shopping in the rain. Ann, her aunt and cousins cross a busy zebra crossing in Darlington town centre and walk along High Row to look at the large Christmas tree standing there. They look in on a shop display window showing Santa. In a butchers shop, chickens ready for Christmas are on display. A sign on the window reads ‘Chicks 5’ – lb’. The group look in on another window with a promotional sign for ‘L&N Christmas Fare’. A large Christmas tree decorates the building of the Cox and  Falconer furnishing store. The camera continues to pan downwards to a small crowd looking in on the Christmas window display showing a reindeer and Santa on his sleigh.

The family walk home along a country lane, a little girl pushing a toy pram. A young boy rides a tricycle towards camera. An older girl rides past on a bicycle. The little girl in a hooded romper suit continues pushing her toy pram.

Standing at the front gate of the family home, Peter’s father is in a silly paper hat along with a young girl also in a hat and eye mask. They wave as the family group approaches and everyone goes inside.

[Toned film]

The extended family relax and chat over drinks beside a roaring fire. The little girl sips from a glass with a straw. A big selection of dribks stand on the sideboard. Everyone is wearing a party hat and toasts are made.

Peter’s uncle carves up the chicken on the dining room table. Presents are arranged around the Christmas tree.

General views of the family relaxing in the living room and Ann playing with one of her younger siblings on the floor. A small boy nearby plays with his toy gun. Later the family enjoy a cup of tea.

Peter brings out and displays to camera a box of ‘Whizzer Junior Indoor Fireworks’. A packet is removed from the box that reads ‘The Hindustan Snake Charmer’. The packet is opened and the content placed on a wooden tray. A match lights the content which twists and turns snake-like on the tray.

The family unwrap their presents. A small girl opens a box containing a pair of shoes. Ann passes her mother a package containing a decorative basket ornament. Her aunt opens a tube containing a scarf which she wraps around her head. A small boy receives a pair of boots. Other presents are opened including a packet of Dorchester tobacco for Peter’s father who smiles and licks his lips. Ann receives a leather handbag. Sitting in a chair by the fire, Peter’s father lights and begins to smoke a cigar. Next to him, Peter’s uncle opens his present containing a pair of socks. Peter’s father opens a pack containing a pair of trouser braces. His mother receives a pair of scissors.

The film cuts to a view of Christmas holly. [Black & white footage changes to colour.].Shots of a vase of colourful flowers on a dresser and coloured balloons hanging from a wall. Various portrait shots follow of each member of the family, including the filmmaker Peter Dobing. The film ends with an iced Xmas cake.

Title: The end