This film is part of Free

British Sports and Pastimes Series. 2

Rip-roaring motorboat scenes, plus one of the earliest examples of the Boat Race on film

1916 7 mins Silent


Charles Urban's Kineto company specialised in 'interest' videos which aimed to broaden viewers’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them. This film, one of a series about sport, records a range of boating events. The film stock might show its age in places, but the exhilarating shot taken aboard a motorboat is the equal of later action movies, from Jaws to James Bond.

Long before the BBC began televising the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, Kineto recorded it on film - and its wide shots of the Thames are a particular treat. Since the famous contest took a break during WWI, this material must have been taken before 1914, and could be one of the earliest film recordings of the event. Kineto’s work anticipated the documentary genre, and the company's pioneering spirit is in evidence here. Note the second cameraman in shot just after the two-minute mark - this was a complex, expensive setup.