Definitely the best quality ‘print’ of a vintage 16mm film that this festival has ever seen. A UK premier for an extraordinary film that until recently, virtually nobody knew existed. Weirdly, this is more of a nature and zoology film than a Land Rover film. Be ready for insects and wildlife in abundance!
In the fall of 1956, Bristol Foster had completed his masters in biology at the University of Toronto and was itching for the chance to leave academia behind for a while. He had known Robert Bateman, then teaching art and geography, since the days when both were boys in a nature club at the Royal Ontario Museum. A shared love of the outdoors made the two ideal travelling companions.
Their 1957 Land Rover was properly bespoke in a time when the word actually meant something. Built by Pilcher with a Series I powertrain, the coach-built ambulance body was fitted with unusual features like a rooftop hatch for observing dangerous wildlife. Construction must have taken hundreds of man-hours, but when the bill arrived, Land Rover had accidentally only charged for the chassis.
Ghana to Nairobi, then across India and finishing with a crossing of Australia. All this and, the car is alive and well to this day.