Film ID:
NEFA 10482



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Home movie made in 1937 by Middlesbrough dentist and amateur filmmaker Tom Brown (Senior) that records a holiday in the Swiss and Italian Alps with his wife. Footage includes scenes in Lucerne and Lugano, locations on Lake Maggiore and Lake St Moritz and in the surrounding mountains.

Title: A Holiday In Switzerland, 1937

Title: Our Hotel At Lucerne

The film opens with a general view of the old waterfront buildings at Lucerne, with a closer view of the façade of the Hotel des Balances and the row of buildings lining the Reuss River front.

Title: The View From The Top Shows Mt Pilatus

From the hotel, there is a panoramic view of Mount Pilatus with the city of Lucerne in the foreground. The shot closes on the profile of Mabel Brown looking out at the scenery.

Title: The Wooden Bridge

People pass by the old covered wooden Chapel Bridge connected to an octagonal brick water tower at its furthest side.

Title: Market Day

There are general views of a busy market along the north bank of the River Reuss near the Old Town Hall and Chapel Bridge.

Title: Wall Paintings

The film depicts a painted mural, probably the Last Supper, on the façade of a Lucerne building in the old town. A road sign points to Zurich, Basel Bern and other locations. A traffic policeman directs traffic from a striped booth next to the sign. A tree lined water front promenade is nearby. There are further shots of the quay side market.

Title: Old Town Hall

A general view of the Renaissance style town hall beside the River Reuss.

Title: Local Transport

Many shots record local men, women and children pulling small wooden carts on wheels through the streets of Lucerne. A woman pushes an unusual white pram along a street. A man cycles past with small wooden cart attached. The sequence ends as another man rushes across a street pulling a wheeled cart.

Title: Lake Lucerne

A traveling shot of a paddle steamboat on Lake Lucerne, with mountains in the background, as it pulls away from the quay side. Various shots of the steamer and other steamer cruise ships with passengers follow. There are many shots of the mountain scenery and settlements on the shoreline. An old tiered carved wooden building stands on waterside columns overhanging the lake. Traveling shot of the secluded lake and sheer rock walls towards the Bay of Uri.

A sign reads 'Brunnen.' The boat moves towards the dock at Brunnen. There are general views of the town, of the mountain scenery and boat. A close-up of a sign for Flüelen follows. Hotels cluster in front of a white church, below a mountain range. A man herds cows through the town. A man and woman herd a flock of sheep down a street. Two people drag a small, wheeled wooden cart. A young boy herds cows through the town. One cow wears a large bell around its neck. There is a close-up of a quizzical St Bernard dog.

Title: Lake Lucerne. Küssnacht. Queen Astrid

A white cross stands in a grass field. Two women are looking at the cross. Pan down from the roof to the entrance of Queen Astrid’s memorial chapel. Close-up of a coat of arms embedded in the stone wall of the chapel.

Title: The Rhine Falls

Next, there is a view towards a stone arch bridge across the Rhine river at Schaffhausen, with the Rhine Falls in the foreground and Mabel Brown at the edge of the Falls.

[Note: Colour film dye has faded badly and has an overall magenta appearance in this next sequence.]

Title: Colourful Lucerne

People relax on benches and stroll along Lucerne promenade by the waterfront, bordered by the old town buildings. Mabel walks past the promenade floral displays toward camera. A shot of fruit stalls follows. A woman buys flowers from a stall holder. A lakeside balcony, which overhangs the water, is covered with floral displays. A boatman rows past on the lake. There is a general view of the covered bridges at Lucerne, with water tower. A train passes close by the camera. Three women including Mabel stand at the entrance to a café selling pastries.

[Note: The next sequences are filmed in black and white.]

Title: Lugano

People are walking along a riverside promenade in Lugano. Panning shot of the lake and mountain scenery. A bust of George Washington stands in a lakefront park. People stroll along a tree lined path. There is a shot of café tables beneath a colonnade. A further shot of passers-by down a tree-lined path. Mabel sits on a bench with two young girls and a young woman, with a large fountain in the background. Two men cycle past along a narrow street. The Cathedral of Lugano stands at the end of a street. A man straps a load onto a cart pulled by a mule. There are various shots of market stall holders using hand held scales to weigh vegetables. A corner sign reads 'Archieto Galberti,' and is followed by a close-up of a dead deer hanging outside a shop. Small stalls, shaded beneath individual umbrellas, line a street. A sign reads 'Ponte Tresa.'

Title: No Persil Here

Women scrub clothes on small communal platforms beside the Tresa River.

Title: Italian Customs

A customs officer inspects a car at the border with Italy. Various shots at the customs include an officer handing out passports to passengers on an open-top bus.

Title: Lake Maggiore. Stresa

There are general views of Stresa’s cobbled streets. Mabel sits with other passengers on a boat.

Title: Lake Maggiore. Isola Bella

There is a travelling shot of the island Isola Bella, near Stresa, occupied by the Pallazzo Borromeo. A boat travels alongside the filmmaker’s boat. Mabel and other passengers are helped off the boat onto the island. A shot of the statues in the Italinate gardens of the palace close this sequence.

Title: Lake Maggiore. Two men are rowing a passenger boat with awning across the lake.

Title: Lake Maggiore. Pallanza

There is a brief shot of the mausoleum of General Cadorna along the lake shore, with sculpted statues surrounding the building. Next, a mule has collapsed on a roadside and is helped back onto its feet. A young boy and two girls sit on a wall above the town. The camera pans across to a scenic view of mountains and lake.

Title: Lake Maggiore. Locarno

The next scene records a panoramic view of Locarno and a shot of boatmen rowing across the lake.

Title: Lake Maggiore. The Mountain Railway To The Monastery of Title: Lake Maggiore. The Madonna Del Sasso

A small mountain railway carriage travels along tracks to a platform. The Franciscan church, Madonna Del Sasso, sits on a wooded crag with a panoramic view of Locarno and Lake Maggiore far below. Mabel Brown looks out over the view. A tourist supports her camera on a wall for a shot accompanied by curious onlookers.

Title: Lake Maggiore. Villa D’Este

The film depicts the exterior of the Villa D’Este, followed by a view between buildings of the distant mountains, and various shots of the gardens and architecture of the villa.

Title: At The Top Of The Maloja Pass

Signs hang on a totem statue with outstretched arms, which guards the Maloja Pass in the Swiss Alps, and dramatic snow-capped mountain peaks are pictured in the background. Tour cars are parked on the mountain road leading through the pass. Mabel writes a letter at an outdoor wooden table, using a chained pen contraption. A cow looks towards the camera.

Title: St Moritz. 6000 Ft Up

A group of people look down a steep slope at St Moritz in the Engadine Valley. Mabel trips. There is a general view of the town beside the glistening Lake St Moritz.

Title: Chiavenna

A rocky mountain stream flows through the Italian town of Chiavenna.

Title: Grape Carriers Footage in this sequence records many different local people carrying tall conical grape harvest baskets, strapped to their backs, through the cobbled streets of Chiavenna.

Title: The Young Idea

Tom Brown (Senior), sits outside with his granddaughter Helen as she unwraps a present with a doll inside. The doll is a souvenir female grape carrier in traditional Swiss dress, brought from his travels in the Swiss and Italian Alps. She waves the doll around to camera and kisses her grandfather.

End credit: Photography by T. Brown

Title: The End