Teenage Highlights from the British Pathé Archives

On April 16th, British Pathé made headlines when they announced that their formidable archive of newsreel footage would be released onto YouTube. Overnight over 85,000 archival videos from 1910 to 1970 were opened to the public, giving anyone with interest a glimpse into the past. The entire collection begs the viewer to get lost for hours in the deluge.

To spare you a few days of sifting, we collected ten highlights from the collection for your viewing pleasure:

1. The Age of the Teenager

This campy clip from 1958 boasts incomprehensibly cool British teen lingo. Lady Lewisham, Princess Diana’s stepmother, defends teens as “splendid.”

2. Teen Idols

“This is how many citizens see their minor counterparts: screaming, frenzied idolizers of teenage pop stars without a sensible thought in their long haired heads. But they’re wrong. Very wrong!”

3. The Snogometer

This weird clip shows a fictional teenage invention that measures “snogging.”

4. The Strangest School in the World

Kids dress like Lou Reed in 1968 and smoke cigarettes in this free-wheeling experimental high school.

5. Teenage Fashions from 1946

These prim and proper teens are ready for strut spring fashions on the catwalk.

6. Boy Scout Jamboree in the Philippines in 1959

Boy scouts from all around the world (including Vietnam, Kuwait and more) assemble in the Philippines for the first ever Jamboree held in an Asian country.

7. Johnny Halliday – French Rockstar from 1961

Etes-vous rock? Teen rock’n’roll idol Johnny Halliday oozes charisma and Gallic cool in this clip. Stick it out through the press conference (in French) and check out some electrifying live material.

8. Jitterbug Mania in 1939

Check out these wild swing moves as Pathé feverishly covers jitterbug mania! Some of you may even recognize bits of this clip from Teenage!

9. Here We Go Gathering Spuds in Scotland in 1944

This glorious piece of propaganda makes potato harvesting in organized labor camps sound like a blast.

10. Janette Scott

This clip borders melancholy and teeters on the edge of creepy as it shows a teenage girl’s transition to adulthood set to dreamy music and an authoritative male narrator.


Teenage opens in Dallas this Friday at the Angelika.  For more information click here.