A Yesteryear Scrapbook – Racing, Record-Breaking & Transport

0 of 5 stars

“Recall the post-war years in music, newsreel & words / A triple pack: CD, DVD & 20 page illustrated booklet”


Reviewed by: Raymond Penhurst

Reviewed: October 2007
Duration: CD 47 minutes
DVD 20 minutes

This is a nice idea: a journey back in time through sound, picture and the written word. Yesteryear is to be congratulated for caring for bygone times – and whilst, for some, it will be a nostalgia trip, it is also an entertaining way for the history-minded to observe past successes and how newsreel and popular music was back then.

Attractively presented, the foldaway pack houses a DVD and CD – none too securely it must be said! – and a booklet. Each release is themed (one is called “The National Service Years” and another is “Pageantry Of The Crown”) – with this particular ‘Racing’ release concentrating on Transport and Record-Breaking. One might wonder if during 1948 to 1959 there were other achievements captured on film that could have been included here – maybe not – but why weren’t the episodes arranged chronologically? Even so, this is diverting watching – ‘London’s Last Tram’, ‘Le Mans’, ‘The Mini’, ‘Stirling Moss Wins Mille Miglia’ and ten more transport-related snippets, whether a breakthrough (Donald Campbell and Peter Twiss), a farewell (‘Goodbye to steam’) or new-this-year (‘Earls Court Motor Show 1958’). How nice to hear apt and varied music as a soundtrack instead of the thumping drivel that intrudes today and also a friendly narrator avoiding hype and excitability – broadcasting then was more ingratiating. (And I’m not that old!)

The CD has 16 selections and plays for 47 minutes – why so short when material must be endless? Nevertheless these popular choices include the ‘gallop’ part of the overture to “William Tell” (horsepower you understand, supporting “The Lone Ranger”!), ‘Mule Train’ (another equine!), ‘Walkin’ my baby back home’, and others. All pleasing, most familiar and standing the test of time – not least the ‘Harry Lime Theme’ for “The Third Man” (Orson Welles) as composed and played by Anton Karas on the zither.

The splendid (and illustrated) booklet is the ideal complement and sets film and music (which look and sound excellent) in context.

There’s a lot to enjoy and learn here – a mix of memories and discovery. Cordially recommended to everyone.

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