British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Around The Town

Dates
1919 - 1923
Category
Cinemagazine - Entertainment
History
Around the Town was first trade shown at the Shaftesbury Pavilion, London, on 30 October 1919. The production company, Around the Town Ltd., was co-directed by Aron Hamburger, inventor of the Polychromide colour process (in 1918) and later director of British Polychromide Ltd. National distribution of the series began on 8 December 1919 (London having received the first issue on the 4th) and the series was ‘exclusively controlled’ and distributed by the Gaumont Company Ltd.

Around the Town began as a 750ft reel released once a week, described as ‘varied interest’ but with an emphasis on the Arts and Literature. Its first slogan was ‘Beauty and Celebrity Everywhere.' The ‘town’ mentioned in the title was most definitely London, a number of the first issues began with a scenic tour of parts of the city, and the advertising material often featured outlines of the London skyline behind its central images. The implied intention of the cinemagazine in this advertising was to allow the public a glimpse into Society. The series was initially well received by the press, as a novelty in cinema programmes, The Times commenting that Around the Town was ‘visualizing gossip columns ... so popular of late’ (Kinematograph Weekly, 27 November 1919). As well as its usual fare of fashion, sports, science and theatre, Around the Town ran a beauty competition in 1920, ‘The Golden Apple Competition,' whose winner, Winifred Nelson, subsequently appeared two minor British movies. This was followed by a Screen Joke Competition in 1921. This self-promotion may well have been aimed at combating the new competition that Around the Town itself was facing in the guise of Pathé's new cinemagazine, Eve’s Film Review. In 1921, Around the Town’s slogan was changed to ‘The Original and Best Weekly Review,' presumably as a poke at their new rival. At this point Gaumont also chose to emphasise the appeal that Around the Town had to men, as well as its predominantly female audience. In addition, their 1921 advertising campaign focused on the ‘prestige’ conferred on the magazines by its coverage of the great and good. In 1922, Gaumont went one step further with their attempts to increase consumption of Around the Town, launching a poster competition in association with the London Evening News with a first prize of £1,000. Gaumont announced their intention to continue producing and distributing Around the Town in the Bioscope of 4 January 1923, boasting that ‘Everybody who is Anybody is screen-interviewed in Around the Town.' This however, was not be, and Around the Town was no longer mentioned in the trade press after 1923. This may well be connected to the fact that Mr. H. T. Redfern, Editor and Secretary of Around the Town since his demobilisation in 1919, left Gaumont in January 1923. This move seems to have coincided with bigger changes in the structure of Around the Town’s parent company, as January 1923 was also the date that Messrs. Bromhead took sole control of the Gaumont Company Ltd. The last issue of Around the Town that we have record of was released on 5 July 1923.
Full history
http://media.bufvc.ac.uk/newsonscreen2/newsreel/histories/aroundthetownhistory.pdf
Provenance
This database is an attempt to reconstruct the output of Around the Town from details published in contemporary trade journals, particularly the Kinematograph and Lantern Weekly and the Bioscope. Several issue records were also compiled from viewing notes.
Other Information
The BUFVC holds two prints of Around the Town issues 88 and 105. Short extracts can be viewed from the front page of this website.

Films in this series can be obtained from:

Film Archive

Name
British Film Institute (BFI)
Email
For BFI National Archive enquiries: nonfictioncurators@bfi.org.uk For commercial/footage reuse enquiries: footage.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://collections-search.bfi.org.uk/web
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7580 7503
Address
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN
Notes
The BFI National Archive also preserves the original nitrate film copies of British Movietone News, British Paramount News, Empire News Bulletin, Gaumont British News, Gaumont Graphic, Gaumont Sound News and Universal News (the World War II years are covered by the Imperial War Museum).
Series held
View all series held by British Film Institute (BFI)

Record Stats

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