Film ID:
NEFA 22160



Visitor Tabs


A partially narrative based home movie produced by Peter Dobing of his family at Christmas in 1950. The film begins with members of the family performing a pantomime in which a witch trying to ruin the Dobing’s Christmas before being vanquished by fairy queen. The remainder of the film records members of the extended family arriving at the Dobing home in the village of Haughton-le-Skerne, now part of Darlington, to enjoy Christmas Day.

The film opens on the title card hanging from a Christmas tree.

Title: A Very Happy Christmas

The camera pans down the tree to the second card.

Title: Cast. Witch Sylvia, Fairy Queen Ann, The Family Themselves

A third card below reads

Title: The stage is set.

A vase of flowers sitting on a bureau with a number of Christmas cards laid out around it cuts to the living room window. Suddenly, as if by magic, a witch in a long pointy hat, black gown and false nose and glasses appears looking inside. In a flash, the witch appears in the living room and looks at a decorative table beside her.

Title: “They didn’t invite me so I’ll spoil ALL their fun.”

The witch looks around the room passing the mantel piece full of Christmas cards. The film cuts to a witches broom made of twigs laying on the ground quickly cutting to it being in her hands.

Using the handle of the broom the witch marks out a square on the carpet and suddenly a book appears with a hand written label on the front that reads ‘Spells’. She opens the book and begins to look through it stopping on a spell that reads ‘To take away Christmas Festivities’.

Suddenly she looks up and standing in the corner of the room a fairy queen holding a home-made wand. The witch rushes out of shot as the spell book on the carpet magically disappears. As the fairy queen moves forward waving her magic wand the witches broom bobs up and down in front of the camera.

The film cuts to a decoration and Christmas light on the tree. The lights in the room go dim highlighting the lights coming off the whole tree.

The film changes to show a drinks trolley and views of the various beers, wines and spirits on it. Peter’s father comes into the room and begins to pour wine or other drink from a jug into a glass decanter. Close up on some of the drinks on the trolley including ‘Fine Old Vatted Rum’ and ‘Gordon’s Orange Gin’.

Peter’s sister comes into the room wearing a paper hat and blowing a party trumpet and walks past her father who is having a drink.

She walks over to Peter who is sitting in a chair reading ‘The Modern Book for Girls’, He is offered a glass of port by his father, which he accepts and drinks enthusiastically.

The film cuts to show Ann walking along an icy country road followed by a small boy riding past on his tricycle. Ann races to catch up with the family group walking ahead and they all walk along in the hazy winter sunshine. A younger girl helps a smaller child ride a different tricycle.

Standing by the gate of the family home Peter’s father waves a hat in the air. The family group seen previously approach, greet Peter’s father and head inside. Standing in the doorway of the house is Peter’s mother wearing a paper hat.

The film cuts to the living room and views of the family relaxing, some drinking tea. Nearby a young woman lays on a chaise lounge.

Someone takes a satsuma from a Columbini box and throws the peel onto the fire. It misses and lands on the ground.

A young boy wipes his mouth with a cloth before showing his teeth to the camera. Nearby a young girl reads a comic. General view of the children playing with their toys and the adults reading. A small table is laid out with a bowl of fruit and other snacks.

The film cuts to show a small girl unwrapping a present. Her siblings stand around her as she plays with her new water colouring set. Peter’s uncle opens his present revealing a small box inside, possibly a watch. Peter’s aunt opens her present wrapped in brown paper, a set of plates. The small girl seen previously stands over her father as he unwraps another present. Inside a pair of shoes for the girl which she snatches and walks away. An older girl opens her present revealing an edition of the Beano Annual.

Around the room, the grown ups have drinks in their hand, Peter’s mother possibly drinking a shandy in a pint glass and his father a glass of whiskey. He looks up and toasts the camera.

Peter lights a cigarette. A small boy opens his present revealing a bell for his bicycle. Ann opens her present to reveal what appears to be a camera and case followed by their aunt opening a photograph album. She and the family sit together looking through the images inside.

Ann opens a second present revealing a book ‘The Modern Encyclopaedia for Children’. Peter’s uncle also receive a book, a copy of ‘The Kon-Tiki Expedition’. Finally, Peter’s mother looks at her new scarf.

 General views of more presents being opened followed by a view of the dining table laid out for a family meal with table cloth, bottles of wine and two large candles. The cooked birds are presented on a service plate. Peter’s uncle cuts a drumstick from one of the birds. The film ends with the family sitting around the table enjoying their meal.

Title: The end.