Friday March 6 at 7:30pm on SBS
The Thirties in Colour continues with episode two airing Friday March 6 at 7.30pm. Colour film was expensive, so it largely remained the preserve of the wealthy. They used it to record special moments in their lives – including encounters with distinguished personalities, and journeys to exotic lands.
Money was no object for American steel magnates Harry and Bolling Wright. Bolling Wright in particular was a colour film enthusiast and he took great joy in recording his adventures during a family holiday aboard the Stella Polaris. The cruise ship sailed around the world and at around $2500 a ticket it was the equivalent to an average American’s salary over two years. They travelled to The South Pacific, The Dutch East Indies, and Southern Africa, before heading to Europe. Those that could afford such cruises found that it was a way to escape the daily toils of the Great Depression.
Bolling managed to capture the golden age of ocean travel only months before it would be turned into a battleground. Indeed the places and people captured in the Wright brothers’ films would soon become embroiled in the bloodiest war in history. Piers Brendon, Author of The Dark Valley describes what the Wright Brothers must have felt when they reached London, “It’s a cosy world of red buses and blue policemen and…of course, the holiday party glimpse the anxieties that are gnawing away at British hearts…they see that the odds on peace are diminishing,” but it is obvious from the footage that many of the elite took for granted their beautiful surroundings. They seemed oblivious to the fact that the world they were circumnavigating was on the verge of a significant crisis.