Thursday, July 24, 2008

Film Review: Twice Upon a Caravan

Today I received from the Denver Library system a DVD containing the film created by Robert E. Fulton Jr when he rode around the world during 1932-33 by himself on a six horsepower motorcycle.

LINK to where I got these images and where you can buy the film if you wish: LINK

Mr Fulton on his trusty steed

It's 53 minutes of black/white movies that were a great complement to my recent reading of the book by Fulton: A One Man Caravan.

While the book did an excellent job of describing the many varied views and people that Fulton saw as he rode; the film films in some of the blanks for the viewer. The book remains a must-read before the film, then let the film finish the job of bringing you along this man's great adventure at the tender age of 22. Wow.

The film starts with Robert Fulton, now 92, sitting on his trusty motorcycle which he still has in his possession, it's his voice that narrates throughout the film and he mentions portions of the book as examples. Having recently read the book, I found the repetition of these book portions to be great aids to the film and to my enjoyment of the films.

Watching the film, you'll get a small idea of what kind of rough terrain he had to negotiate during the early thirties and you'll wonder how he ever managed at times. After all, it's not like he had a support crew and chase vehicles, a mate to ride alongside him, powerful BMW dual-sport motorcycles etc. The man did it on his own and not a single whine did I detect.

A scene caused some wishful thinking on my part. Fulton shoots some footage of himself and his motorcycle, they're next to a stone marker marking the Equator in Sumatra. He eats a sandwich, while straddling the Equator....that's cool! Maybe someday I'll do the same.

One commentary I found noteworthy, which highlighted the changing times that were the 30s; he was the 100th person to make an international long distance call from Bangkok to NY on their recently installed phone cable!

Some of his film was destroyed by heat and humidity during his travels he mentions, but he made it a point to mention he'd lent the US Army his footage of roads in Siam and Indochina during WWII. The army apparently lost it all and he's never been able to recover it. That's a darn shame.

So, check your local library system and get this DVD sent to you for viewing! Specially if you've read the book by Fulton but even if you have not. Its title is in the subject line, the author is Robert E. Fulton Jr, made by Searchlight Films of Bernardston, MA. Now this is a visual record of a world-class motorcycle rider!

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