BFI National Archive
Footage of Greyhound Racing at Wimbledon, 1928, featuring American actress Talluah Bankhead
In 1920s London, no sport was more glamorous than greyhound racing. That can be seen in this film of Tallulah Bankhead, the illustrious – and often scandalous – American actress then working in London. Bankhead poses for shots with a greyhound, smilingly receives a bouquet of flowers and then gleefully pours champagne on the mechanical hare to toast its launch before we see the dogs in action. These shots are probably from a press call, as the stadium is largely empty.
Greyhound racing was hugely popular pre-war across all sections of society, with the likes of George Raft and Lana Turner seen at Walthamstow. That was appropriate, as only cinema and football could match the appeal of the dogs, and it was the popularity of greyhound racing that saved both Wembley and White City from demolition. This is Wimbledon, which Tallulah Bankhead opened in May 1928. After the wonderful footage of the actress soaking the hare in champagne (although note she aims to one side, to keep the stuffing dry), we see flatcapped chaps take the dogs to the starting gate. Then they are off, while the men frantically try to remove the gate. Wonderful period film.
London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.This film is part of the following gallery:
UK, London, Merton, Wimbledon
|Archive name||Format||LSA ID||Archive's identifier||Sound|
|BFI National Archive||ProRes digital file||LSA26234||Mute|