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British Pathe Newsreels Online

British Pathe, one of the oldest media companies in the world, recently made available its entire 3500-hour film archive, covering "news, sport, social history and entertainment from 1896 to 1970." At the Web site, users can search by keyword or try out advanced search, if details such as reel numbers or exact titles are known. Casual users may prefer the "Lucky Dip" search, which provides a random selection of films to see. After a search returns a hit list of films, choices include "Preview Film: a page of stills, with a textual description of the clip;" "Download Now: a free, low resolution clip;" or "Add to basket, to purchase higher resolutions of the film." (A rate card giving prices for low and high resolution clips is provided.) One hint for first-time users, though: if files do not seem to download properly, check your email, because you will be sent the URL to retrieve your film. After just a bit of finagling on our first visit, we watched the Beatles at a water-skiing show, Charlie Chaplin, and Sir Ernest Shackleton and his sled dogs photographed in 1916 on returning from their Antarctic expedition.
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