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Lost in Light is a videoblog about small gauge filmmaking featuring weekly posts of home movies, work by artists, articles by preservationists and film scholars, video tutorials and other film gems.




Sawfish and New Orleans

click image to view in Flash | Quicktime | MPEG-2

Our short hiatus ended up being a bit longer than anticipated, but Lost in Light is back in action. In this second year of the project, we are striving to present films in their original form as much possible, so we’ve decided to present silent films as silent, without our editorial addition of music, and with minimal editing on our part. We return with this wonderful film from the early 1950s U.S. Gulf Coast.Susan S., one of the children in the film, provides this background:

My parents were living around the Gulf Coast area-Galveston, Texas City, Sabine. I think that the sawfish is on the beach in Galveston. I remember my Dad telling us about the things that the fishing boats would drag up that was caught in their nets. Anytime it was something big , a crowd would be gathered around taking pictures. Once it was a huge whale that had beached itself. I am the topless brunette so it’s about 1951. Mother is the beauty getting into the car. About New Orleans, Mother doesn’t remember but I think there are some things in the film that you can’t see in New Orleans anymore – will need to do a little research!

If you have observations about parts of New Orleans depicted in this film that don’t exist anymore, please leave them in the comments. Certainly the city has changed overwhelmingly since this film was taken – makes me appreciate films like this all the more.

Interestingly, sawfish are now an endangered species and international trade is banned.

As always, a complete, high-resolution version of this film is available for download at the Internet Archive. Click “MPEG-2” above for the link.


Comment from Robert Croma
Time: March 2, 2008, -5

I’m drunk again. Lost in Light intoxication. My response to this stuff always deeply romantic. It can be no other way. It feeds into my unfiltered childhood experience of 8mm – which was always one of wonder and intensity at seeing such images projected, nearly always with no sound.

The sawfish footage a real treasure. The beautiful woman climbing into the car utterly wonderful. And then New Orleans…

I recently saw quite a good copy of one of my favourite childhood films, The Red Balloon. In it we get to see the beautiful back streets of Paris in the 50s. These shots of New Orleans leave me just as wide-eyed and full of desire.

Always an inspiration. Oh so glad you’re back.