Biography of 'HARPER, Alan James'

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Film-maker

Born: June 19, 1903, Edinburgh
Died: 1974, Edinburgh

Harper joined his father Campbell Harper in the family photography business somewhat reluctantly. In the 1930s he persuaded his father to expand into moving film setting up Campbell Harper Films in studios in Alva Street, Edinburgh. The company made documentary, educational and industrial films for a variety of sponsors, many of which found cinema release.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Harper was called up to join the RAF but served only one year due to poor health. On his return home he received commissions to make Home Front propaganda and short information films for the Ministry of Information and the Scottish Office.

The company moved premises in 1946 to new studios at Hill Street, which they shared with the Edinburgh Film Guild. In the 1950s, Harper’s company was one of the first to win commissions from the newly established Films of Scotland producing some twenty two titles over the next fifteen years.

Harper was a member of the Scottish Arts Guild, an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and member of the British Kinematograph Society. On his retirement in 1972 the company was sold as a going concern to Park Film Studios.

Researcher: Carolyn Young

Films associated with 'COCOZZA, Enrico'

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'ABERDEEN' thumbnail

ABERDEEN [2320]

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The historical background to the growth of the city of Aberdeen.

Full length video available

1970

sound

col

AULD TAM McGUIRE [2144]

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The dramatised enactment of a comic poem. [Tam McGuire is played by Duncan Macrae.]

1951

sound

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BATHING THE BABY [1346]

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Illustrates how to bathe a baby correctly.

1938

silent

bw

'BENEATH THE SKYLINE' thumbnail

BENEATH THE SKYLINE [3675]

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Beneath the Skyline concerns scenes of industrial, urban, and country life in the Edinburgh area. However these aspects are represented by buildings, machinery, and birds rather than through the people who live there.

Full length video available

1966

sound

col

'CALLER HERRIN'' thumbnail

CALLER HERRIN' [0388]

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Herring fishing off the north- east coast of Scotland ; the film follows the fishing boats from the time they put out to sea to the unloading of the catch at the fish market. It includes shots of fishwives gutting by hand and the process of traditional '

Full length video available

1947

sound

bw

'CHILD WELFARE' thumbnail

CHILD WELFARE [1349]

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The local authority's maternity and child welfare service in operation, showing the benefits to mother and child.

Full length video available

1938

silent

bw

CITY’S FARMS, the [1348]

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Film showing the hygienic care taken of cows before and after milking at farms owned by Glasgow Corporation. Demonstrates the use of sterilising and pasteurisation to produce a "safe" milk supply for hospitals and tuberculosis sanatoria.

1940

silent

bw

'CONTINUATION SCHOOLS' thumbnail

CONTINUATION SCHOOLS [3424]

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Campbell Harper title profiling the Continuation Schools in Edinburgh, a form of further education/apprenticeship training ranging from apprentice shipwrights to apprentice hairdressers.

Film clip available

1945

silent

bw

'COUNTRY HOMES' thumbnail

COUNTRY HOMES [1345]

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How "country homes" for needy children were run, recounted through one child's experience.

Full length video available

Onsite only

1938

silent

bw

'COUNTRY OF THE BLIND, the' thumbnail

COUNTRY OF THE BLIND, the [2002]

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The work of the Scottish National Institution for the War Blinded.

Full length video available

1968

sound

col

DISTANCE NO OBJECT [2044]

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The Cable Belt rope driven conveyor at work.

1959

sound

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EPSTEIN: The Memorial Exhibition in Edinburgh [2011]

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Footage of Edinburgh and the Epstein exhibition of sculpture as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

1961

sound

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'FARM IS RECLAIMED, a' thumbnail

FARM IS RECLAIMED, a [0490]

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How, with government help and his own good farming sense, a Scottish farmer puts a derelict farm into good heart in one year.

Film clip available

1945

sound

bw

'FIBRE WEB, the' thumbnail

FIBRE WEB, the [2040]

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The processing of the raw materials required for paper-making and some of the end products.

Full length video available

1964

sound

col

'FORTH - POWERHOUSE FOR INDUSTRY' thumbnail

FORTH - POWERHOUSE FOR INDUSTRY [1820]

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A look at the development of sources of power, the industries, and new towns along the borders of the River Forth.

Full length video available

1968

sound

bwcol

'FREEDOM OF ABERFELDY' thumbnail

FREEDOM OF ABERFELDY [0107]

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The town of Aberfeldy during wartime when the women provided a 'home' for Dominion troops on leave.

Full length video available

1943

sound

bw

'GOOD HEALTH TO SCOTLAND' thumbnail

GOOD HEALTH TO SCOTLAND [0271]

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Made during the war, the film promotes various health measures e.g. ante-natal clinics, school milk, holiday camps for children and inoculation.

Film clip available

1944

sound

bw

'GOOD SERVANT, the' thumbnail

GOOD SERVANT, the [2211]

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The story of the Clydesdale horse, from foal to champion at the Royal Highland Show.

Full length video available

1958

sound

col

'HERIOT WATT COLLEGE, EDINBURGH' thumbnail

HERIOT WATT COLLEGE, EDINBURGH [1862]

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A guide to facilities showing students learning diverse techniques at Heriot Watt College, in its Chambers Street buildings, Edinburgh. Subjects include Pharmacy, Optics, Mine Rescue and Engineering.

Full length video available

1938

silent

bw

'HIGHLAND CAPITAL' thumbnail

HIGHLAND CAPITAL [2213]

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Inverness as a focal point for Highland life past and present: from St. Columba and King Bruce to the Loch Ness Monster and the World Pipe Band Championships. (20 mins)

Full length video available

1968

sound

col

'J. & P. COATS TRAINING FILM' thumbnail

J. & P. COATS TRAINING FILM [4140]

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A training film from Coats Thread Makers. The film shows the machines which are used to spin and and put the thread onto spindles. The film was to show employees how to clean and maintain these machines to ensure that they stayed in perfect working order.

Full length video available

Onsite only

1954

silent

col

LAND LIVED IN, a [2217]

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Castles and country houses in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

1957

sound

col

L'ANNIVERSAIRE [0848]

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The first film to be made in Scotland by a company of French players speaking their own language, it tells the story of a mother's birthday.

1950

sound

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'LIFE IN THE ORKNEYS' thumbnail

LIFE IN THE ORKNEYS [2009]

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Life on the Orkney islands seen through the eyes of a mail boat skipper, a farmer and a civil air-service pilot. Film includes brief shot of German fleet in Scapa Flow prior to scuttling in 1919 and an aerial shot of the Churchill Barriers.

Full length video available

1957

sound

bw

'NEW LIVES' thumbnail

NEW LIVES [1684]

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Some aspects of the Church of Scotland Extension work are shown in this story of a family's evacuation from an Edinburgh slum to a new housing area, in Pilton.

Full length video available

1939

silent

bw

PASTEURISED MILK [1344]

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The transport, pasteurisation and testing of milk for public consumption.

1938

silent

bw

'PROSPECT FOR A CITY' thumbnail

PROSPECT FOR A CITY [2807]

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Produced to commemorate the bi-centenary of Craig's Plan for the first New Town of Edinburgh, 1767, the film shows the Town's buildings, gardens and monuments.

Full length video available

1967

sound

col

ROYAL SCOTTISH MUSEUM, EDINBURGH [2274]

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The Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, its history and the work of the various departments, etc.

1945

silent

bw

'SCOTLAND DANCES' thumbnail

SCOTLAND DANCES [2224]

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The tradition of Scottish Highland and Country dancing, reflecting some of its world-wide popularity.

Full length video available

1957

sound

col

'SEED OF PROSPERITY' thumbnail

SEED OF PROSPERITY [0495]

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A survey of the condition of potato crops and measures taken to combat their disease.

Full length video available

1946

sound

bw

'STAN AND OLLIE' thumbnail

STAN AND OLLIE [0492]

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Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy sightseeing in Edinburgh where they visit the castle and make an appearance on stage at the Playhouse Cinema.

Film clip available

Onsite only

1932

silent

bw

'STOBHILL HOSPITAL: The Story of a Modern Hospital' thumbnail

STOBHILL HOSPITAL: The Story of a Modern Hospital [1347]

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The work of a modern hospital with shots 'behind the scenes' showing the kitchens, dispensary, telephone switchboard and nurses relaxing off-duty.

Film clip available

1938

silent

bw

'STORY OF TORMORE, the' thumbnail

STORY OF TORMORE, the [2795]

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The construction of the Tormore Distillery on Speyside, highlighting some of the aspects of the social and historical setting of the development.

Full length video available

1963

sound

col

'TAY ROAD BRIDGE' thumbnail

TAY ROAD BRIDGE [2243]

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The building of the Tay Road Bridge from the initial stages to the official opening.

Full length video available

1967

sound

col

'TENEMENT WARDEN' thumbnail

TENEMENT WARDEN [1386]

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An illustration of how to cope with an air raid, including first-aid and fire fighting procedures. The film also shows air raid shelters being built and put into practice.

Full length video available

1941

sound

bw

THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN: Activity, Discovery and Learning in Edinburgh Primary Schools [3085]

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Review of experimental teaching techniques in use in Edinburgh Primary Schools - reading library, Cuisenaire rods, elementary science, introduction to French.

1965

sound

col

'VIEW FROM THE BASS, a' thumbnail

VIEW FROM THE BASS, a [2913]

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The county of East Lothian, in particular the town of North Berwick and its links with Robert Louis Stevenson. Includes shot of Berwick Law and group of Boy Scouts in kilts climbing it.

Full length video available

1963

sound

col