Beautiful Amsterdam is a short promotional film from 1927 made by Alex Benno. In addition to the usual tourist images, this film (with English intertitles) also features many shots of the Amstel Hotel, which had commissioned the film. The Amstel Hotel was most likely trying to convince American tourists to book rooms at the hotel when they visited the Olympic Games, which in 1928 were held in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam in the picture
In 2016, Eye conserved four films in the context of the project called ‘Breng Amsterdam in Beeld’. This project was made financially possible via crowdfunding, with 260 donors making contributions. The films come from Eye’s own collection. All four of them are about Amsterdam, and they had not yet been included in other ongoing projects. Now they have been conserved: these films were cleaned by hand, repaired where necessary, and then copied and digitized.
De oudste beelden van Amsterdam
The second film is actually a compilation, ‘De oudste beelden van Amsterdam’ (‘The oldest images of Amsterdam’). These are the first shots of Amsterdam to be made by Dutch filmmakers. The city had already been depicted on film in 1898 and 1899 by cameramen from abroad, but producer Franz Anton Nöggerath Sr. was the first Dutchman to do so; he began filming brief impressions and news items in around 1900.
Veel van zijn films speelden zich af in Amsterdam, maar de meeste gingen verloren bij de brand van Nöggeraths theater Variété Flora in augustus 1902. Midden jaren twintig dook gelukkig toch nog een aantal van deze films op. Sindsdien staan deze bekend als de oudste Nederlandse films (zie verder De oudste Nederlandse films in de collectie van Eye en Het Nederlandsch Centraal Filmarchief).
In 1991 zijn de films al analoog geconserveerd, maar op die manier bleven sommige beschadigingen wel erg zichtbaar. Dit keer zijn de oorspronkelijke negatieven opnieuw gescand en digitaal gerestaureerd. De beelden zijn nu weer in volle glorie hersteld.
Alarm Brand and Oudjes
The last two films date from the 1930s: Alarm Brand and Oudjes. They are both short sound films made by filmmakers from Amsterdam. Alarm Brand is a short documentary about Amsterdam’s fire department, made by Jo de Haas for the Amsterdam-based Filmfabriek Holland. This company also produced films for the Cineac cinema located on Amstelstraat, where this film was screened in early 1936. The film was recently found in a collection of films that were bequeathed to Eye. Oudjes is a short film by Henk Kleinman about the love between two residents of a retirement home. The cast consists of actors who were well known at the time, such as August Kiehl, Riek Kloppenburg, and Louis van Dommelen. The chamber orchestra of the Concertgebouw provided the music.
‘Breng Amsterdam in Beeld’ is a collaboration between Eye and the Dutch crowdfunding site Voordekunst.nl.