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The Yellow Balloon (1953) 'THE YELLOW BALLOON' (1953) watched Friday 30th August, 2013

SOMETIMES the answer to which 16mm film print to screen on Friday is decided for me. The death of veteran British cinematographer Gilbert Taylor at the advanced age of ninety-eight has presented a choice from 'Number Seventeen,' 'Turn of the Tide,'Seven Days To Noon,' 'The Yellow Balloon,' or 'It's Great to be Young.'

'Yellow Balloon' has to be the choice. Taylors' mastery in black and white lighting camerawork. Memorable are the vertigo-inducing location shots amongst the bombed out homes of 1950's London. The children, the animals and realistic sets of the Underground. It is the film that evokes the details of growing up in the 1950's, down to the snake-clasp nylon belts, sheath knives, and sandals. Sandals play a great visual twist in the plot.

(The 16mm print is on Kodak stock edge code " + Square " made 1954. It is an original with fine contrast and density. The optical soundtrack is printed thin so sound is slightly low but excellent quality).

British International Pictures Cinephon 35mm Camera Elstree 1932 35mm BIP Elstree/UFA 'Cinephon' camera of 1932 camera used by Gilbert Taylor who was clapper/loader on 'Number Seventeen.' The gate pressure plate and prism moved away to allow direct view through the lens. Cameramen at Elstree then were Claude Friese-Greene and Walter Harvey, the brother of actress Lilian Harvey.

BIP Elstree Cinephon 35mm Camera Buckle-Trip 35mm BIP Elstree 'Cinephon' camera of 1932 Showing buckle-trip motor cut out device. The camera has direct reflex viewing through the back of the thin (orthochromatic in those days) film stock while shooting. When setting focus between shots, a separate prism could be moved into position that allowed direct viewing through the lens.The body has a cork sound-absorbing cover. Drive was through flexible shafts to a motor that interlocked with a separate optical sound camera that recorded the synchonised optical sound track. Dalas Bower was in charge of the sound department.

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