Film ID:
NEFA 17666



Visitor Tabs


This amateur home movie documents Olive McQueen’s trip to the USA between 1958 and 1959. It features transatlantic travel to New York on the Cunard-White Star ocean liner Mauretania II, sailing from Southampton on 27 August 1958, and a return trip on the Queen Elizabeth from New York on February 28th 1959. The film includes scenes in New York, Long Island, San Francisco, Williamsburg, and locations in Virginia and California.

May McQueen poses on the windy deck of the ocean liner RMS Mauretania II on a North Atlantic crossing to New York in 1958. Her daughter Olive poses with May next to a safety ring bearing the Mauretania name. There is a shot of another ocean liner. Olive enjoys a game on deck with another passenger. Other passengers walk past and a woman waves to camera. A ship sails on the Atlantic in the mid distance. Various shots record Olive on deck. The Mauretania nears the American coastline and New York. The Statue of Liberty National Monument on Ellis Island and nearby urban coastline comes into view as the ship sails into New York Harbour.

The film cuts to exterior shots of a large, modern suburban house on Long Island, home of McQueen family friends, the Dubowys. Marie Dubowy stands on the porch with her son and waves. They walk towards and past the camera. Olive McQueen attempts to hold up the garage door and laughs.

Olive and three women friends walk arm-in-arm together along a New York public path besides a large, modern stone building. The women are dressed in fashionable 1950s clothes. Olive holds the hands of a small boy and girl, walking towards camera.

A woman stands on the porch of a clapboard house in Virginia, United States. The stout woman walks from the porch and speaks to camera. There are various shots of visits to historic monuments in Virginia.

The next sequence records a pageant with procession through the street, probably in a Virginian town. A float drives past that carries four young beauty queens dressed in white ball gowns. A group of majorettes in white fur-trimmed dresses, boots and hats march past twirling batons and are followed by a band of drummers in uniform. Women dressed in historical costume ride by on a float decorated as a ship bearing a banner that reads: “Sink The Deacons (remainder obscured.)” Another float seen from rear carries the banner “Pi Beta Phi,” a college fraternity for women.

A young woman and man pose for the camera, (the man quickly runs out of shot.) There is a general exterior view of the Governors Palace, Williamsburg, with Royal Coat-of-Arms above doorway.

A travelling shot through a train window crossing the States to the West records the rural American scenery of mountains and homesteads en route.

Olive McQueen is dressed in a 1950s print dress with camera around her neck. She is with a man (Bob) and very young child (either baby Dianne or Mike). A woman in glasses smiles down at the child. Olive and Bob help his baby walk along a path. Olive and friends walk through a park.

Next, the film documents a visit to a well-preserved, Californian frontier town, operating as a tourist attraction. A stagecoach or covered wagon ride, with a driver in cowboy hat at the reins, is waiting for tourist passengers. The two-horse pulled stagecoach drives past with many children passengers. Olive, the man, and child in a pushchair, stroll along the town’s main street with many other visitors looking at the historic pioneer stores, staffed by actors in costume. The film then cuts to a view of a grand Californian Spanish style ranch hotel with palm trees and shaded tables, sited at the base of a mountain.

Olive in sunglasses is pushing a child (Ellen Moss Newsome) in a low-rider pram along a suburban path. An old, thin couple walk out of a door, number 1321. Olive poses with them, grinning. The scene cuts to a high angle view across waterfront buildings to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The old woman and Olive are standing at a street high above San Francisco Bay and use a coin-in-the-slot telescope to view the distant Golden Gate Bridge. Various shots record McQueen family friends on sunlit San Francisco streets and there is a general view of people strolling and shopping on a generic American street. There is a brief view down a freeway with an iron bridge structure on the right.

Back in Virginia, there are scenes of Olive at the home of old family friends, the Newsomes. The fleet of “J.M. Newsome Jnr. Electrical Contractor” vans are parked along a suburban street lined with clapboard houses. A young woman in culottes and bare feet walks across a lawn with a group of electricians in work wear. Mrs Newsome gets out of a car. The young woman in culottes poses with one of the electricians against a van. Portrait shots of individual electricians posed with their vans follow. A man in suit and glasses (Mr Newsome?) hugs Olive and an older woman, walking towards camera. A young boy is balanced precariously at the back of a van. There are various shots of Olive and the Newsome family joking around in the garden.

Back in mid-town Manhattan, New York, there is a view down 5th Avenue towards the Rockefeller Centre skyscraper. A closer shot shows the ground level facades of Radio City and NBC Studios. Next, there is a shot of skaters on the Rockefeller centre Ice Rink.

The final sequence records a return trip from New York on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth in February 1959. A safety ring on board ship bears the Queen Elizabeth name. A woman carries books on deck. Olive poses by a deck railing also clutching books, handbag and a box cine camera. She laughs and speaks to camera. There are general views of the ship deck and the sea.