Restored by The British Film Institute (and BBC)
Film footage shot between 1900-1913


  Between 1900-1913, filmmakers Mitchell & Kenyon roamed Northern England, Scotland and Ireland filming the everyday lives of people at work and play. For 70 years, 800 rolls of this early nitrate film sat in sealed barrels in the basement of a local shop in Blackburn. Rediscovered by local historian Peter Worden in the early 1990s and subsequently acquired by the British Film Institute in June 2000 this collection has been the subject of an ambitious four-year restoration and research project. Described by film historians as the cinematographic equivalent of Tutankhamen's tomb. Now miraculously discovered and painstakingly restored by the British Film Institute, this ranks as the most exciting film discovery since Carl Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc".

Gary W. Tooze


Theatrical Release: unknown

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DVD Review: BFI - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL
Runtime Episode 1- 59:08 + Episode 2 - 59:12 + Episode 3 - 58:38 = 2:58:12 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.68 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:

Edition Details:

• None 

DVD Release Date: January 31st, 2005

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Chapters: 6 X 3 = 18




Sometimes while reviewing, I can get carried away and want to have the preparation of my comments dominate all of my time. I could have easily sat watching this and obtaining screen captures - for days on end. I'll just say that seeing everyday life, a century ago, in such incredibly restored film footage is beyond my descriptive powers. This is some of the best 3 hours I have ever spent in front of my home theatre.

Firstly, there is ghosting noticeable in the motion sequences. I suspect it is a consequence of the frame-rate conversion which was done to ensure it is seen at the exact pace it was when initially shown.  I saw, what appeared to be some chroma bug but only on one occasion at the very beginning. Contrast is superb. Blacks levels are very strong at times. The content of this production consists of the elucidating film footage of the past presented by Dan Cruickshank and comments by various individuals . Some of the time is taken up by recreations of the Mitchell and Kenyon studio - although this is important for a historical perspective, it was the least appealing to me. Interview and explanation are consistently interspersed within the footage as are details of the painstaking restoration process which is fascinating, as was the tracking down of the children and grandchildren of those appearing in the footage.

Small complaints - subtitles would have been an asset and I think it deserved some liner notes of some sort.

Divided into three segments ("Life and Times", "Sports and Leisure" and "Saints and Sinners"), it is the type of thing you wish would never end. Consistently intriguing from viewpoint of a film fan, this historically educational examination is like a gift to modern humanity... and to think it was almost lost to us forever! I was totally enthralled the entire 3 hours.   out of  

NOTE: To look at the black and white images below does not do this DVD justice - envision these as moving pictures.

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


Episode 1




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Episode 2




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Episode 3




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Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL


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Gary Tooze