Film ID:
YFA 332

PEAKS, PALACES AND PEOPLE

1966-1967

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a film by Charles Chislett of a long tour he and his wife Grace made of India, Bangkok, Singapore and Ceylon. It shows local people in their everyday lives, as well as many of the sights. It is in two parts.

Title - Peaks, Palaces and People

Part 1

The film begins showing a map with the journey marked on it from Britain to India, China, Malaysia and Ceylon, followed by on board an airplane in flight.

Intertitle - Bombay

They take a tour of the city, starting with the coast, and then the streets showing the colonial architecture. They drive slowly through the bustling streets filming people going about their everyday lives, with traffic, including a red Routemaster bus. They walk among the street sellers selling fruit and spices; many locals, children and families, stop to look at the camera. They walk along the sea front. There is a snake charmer and a dancing bear. They take a boat ride from outside the Gateway to India, with the Taj Mahal Hotel in the background, to the Isle of Elephanta. Grace gets carried on a chair lift. They eat on a restaurant overlooking the bay.

Intertitle - The road to Ellora

Along the way they film the local houses, scenery and people, including many carts being pulled by oxen, and women carrying pots on their heads. They visit a Hindu temple and see a well in operation and women washing clothes in a river before finally reaching Ellora. Again the next stage of their route is shown on the map.

Intertitle - Udaipur

They take a boat ride on the river, and tour around the city streets, filming the whole city from high up. As people go about their daily business they come to a building with the words, 'Let thy voice by low', written on the wall. There are many statues of elephants. They take a boat ride, showing the City Palace on Lake Pichola. They later journey out to Sas Bhau Temples. Again the next stage of their route is shown on the map.

Intertitle - Jaipur

Again they film the bustling streets, with people on camels, and visit the Mahaja's Palace. Grace takes a ride on an elephant in the deserted city of Amber, followed by a guided tour of the sights. They watch metal workers making bowls. Again the next stage of their route is shown on the map.

Intertitle - Delhi

The first part of the film the large arch and the roads leading up to it. The film finishes showing the long wall.

Part 2

The second part of the film opens with map of Delhi Zoological Park. Here they see pelicans, bears, camels, rhinos, meerkats, and a white tiger. They visit the Jumma Masjid Mosque and the India Gate, and families posing for photos under an arch. A large group pose with Grace in the middle. They visit the river Yamuna and watch a horse parade. Then the next stage of their journey is shown on the map. Again as they journey they film the everyday life of the villages as they pass through. There are more snake charmers and a man doing tricks with a monkey. A man jumps into the river from a high wall. They visit Yantar Mantar and Birla Temple, and then the Taj Mahal.

Intertitle - Banaras

They take a ride through the streets filming as they go the bustle of rickshaws, bicycles and pedestrians. They visit the street markets and take a boat trip along the river, where many are washing themselves and their clothes, laying them out to dry on the banks. Others squat down next to the river in meditation. Charles and Grace are filmed sat in chairs observing all around. They tour the outskirts, meeting the people, and filming especially the children. Women and children work at mills being turned by cattle. They visit a Buddhist temple.

Intertitle - Calcutta Races

They attend a horse race meeting the (now called) Kolkata Race Course. A man signs his autograph for a group of Indian ladies. Next they show the port, with many large ships in dock. There is a brief glimpse of an outdoor swimming pool with white children. Indian children wash cattle in a river. The next stage of the journey is shown on the map.

Intertitle - Darjeeling

Horse and carts line up next to a railway line. A goods train comes past, with people on top waving. Tiger cubs play in a pen. They tour village streets, with street markets and people going about their everyday life. A group of visitors look out on a view of snow-capped mountains rising above the clouds. They take a jeep ride to a Buddhist monastery where two men blow into Tibetan Long Horns. In the misty valleys the vegetation is lush; children are at play and women turn wool into thread on wooded wheels. They then spread the thread out between posts.

Intertitle - Bangkok

They tour the city, showing Buddhist monks, the architecture, and the river, where a small boat pulls a long line of barges. Charles Chislett plays with some monkeys near the river, where there are many tourist boats. They take a trip along the river, filming the boats and river huts as they pass. A woman serves food from her boat, and other women go along the river selling fruit. They then tour the city, showing city life, including a poster for a Bollywood film, 'Girl in the blood Colour'. They film the modern buildings, and hotels with their swimming pools.

They next board a plane, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA), arriving in Singapore, touring the streets, and then taking a trip along the Chao Phya River and Klongs (canals). An English couple swing their daughter between them on a beach. There is a beautiful sunset with mountains in the background. On the outskirts of Singapore there is a huge shantytown, and people living, and fishing, in boats on the sea shore. They take a trip by boat across a harbour filled with ships and boats. They also film the city from high up a mountain. The couple and their son join them on the boat journey. In the background there are many high rise modern buildings. They film the city at night, lit up with many street adverts. The family have a picnic on a beach looking out at a small fishing boat with the sunset behind them. They take another boat trip before boarding a flight.

Intertitle - Colombo, Ceylon

Again they film the bustling street life of the city and the architecture, including the colonial styled Town Hall. On the beaches fisherman repair their nets. They make an excursion into the countryside, where a man climbs a pineapple tree. They visit a zoo, where some monkeys do tricks for an admiring audience. Here there are meerkats, hippos, alligators, and performing elephants. A red Routemaster bus goes by, and a Buddhist monk uses an umbrella to shade himself from the sun. Elephants are used to load logs into trucks, and oxen pull ploughs in waterlogged fields. Large bats fly out of the trees. People wash their clothes in a river where elephants lie to cool down, and the film comes to an end.

(A full itinerary is in the background file)