*** movie depictions of boys clothing: country films national film industries Europe

National Film Industries and Films: Europe

Europe had all the prerequisites for a major film industry. There were several rich countries with the technical and financial capability needed for a major film industry. And there was not shortage of talent. And film industries did develop in Europe. Duruing the 1920s after World war I. Films could be easily show throughout Europe no matter where they were mase. This changed with the advent of the Talkies in the 1930s. European film makers have since been handicapped by language. There was no lack of talent in Europe and many countries had relatively open smarket was primarily limited to the national market. This was because most countries with a few exceptions (Austria, Belgium and Switzerland) developed their own national language. And small countries had difficulty generating the capital needed for a major production. The larger countries (England, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia) had important industries, but could not compete with Hollywood in the technical quality of the productions. Many countries had to restruct vthe showsing of American films to ensure that locally produced films would be shown in theaters. The German ibdustry was devestated by Wotld War II. French films tended to be "talky" which did not come over well when viewed by non-French speakers. Russian films until the 1970s were pedantic ideological productions and rarely shown outside the Soviet Union. After World War II we begin o see international productions, but language continued to be a difficult problem to oversome.


We know virtually nothing about the Albanian film industry. Hopefully Albanian readers will provide some details. We note one Albania film, Mëngjeze (War Morning) is a black and white Albanian movie made in 1971. The director was Kristaq Dhamo. The movie was made at Kinostudio Shqipëria e Re (Studios New Albania).


HBC at this time has almost know information about the Austrian film industry and the specific films made there. One American film was shot in Austria and used the Vienna Choir boys which as a result needs to be mentioned on a list of Austrian films. HBU hopes that Austrian readers will help advise HBC on Austrian films. Of course, the most famous film made about Austrian children was the American film, Sound of Music.


Belgian films look remarably similar to French ones. I do not know of particularly classic Belgian films, but HBC correspondents have provided some sample images. Belgian styles seem much like French styles. Belgians boys are often shown wearing short pants and until the 1950s schoolboys are commonly seen in smocks. Berets are also worn, presumably in the French speaking areas. Modern movies show boys wearing the same pan-European styles.



Czech movie industry
Figure 1.--This image shows typical Czech summer clothing. The film was probably made about 1980, unfortunately we have no details on it. Perhapos our Czech readers will recognize it.


HBC has no information on pre-World War II (1939-45) Czech film. There was, however, an active film industry which developed during the Communist era (1945/48-89). Many of these films have useful information on children's clothes. The post Communist era was very short before Slovakia withdrew from the country, leaving the Czech Republic as the successor state.


We know little about Danish films at this time. The country does have a film industry, but is limted by the small population and the limited market for Danish-language films outside Denmark. The only fim we currently know of is You Are Not Alone. Some foreign films have been set in Denmark. One especially well known film is Hans Christian Anderson (U.S., 1952), the Danny Kaye film about the Danish national hero. An actual Danish film is Paw (1959). Hopefully Danish readers can suggest some important films which could be added to our list. The historical accuracy is a factor which must be considered in considering these films.


England has perhaps the strongest film industries in Europe. Because the films are in the English language they are better known to American movie goers than many other European films. Given the world-wide spread of English, this also opens up audinces in may foreign countries. English film makers are good at both costume historical films as well as realistic dramas with sensible writing about real people. English clothes at the turn of the century are shown in How Green is My Valley (19??) including Eton collars. Clothes during the 1930s are depicted in Lassie Come Home. English school boy clothes during the early 1940s can be seen in Hope and Glory (1985?). The short pants suits worn even in secondary schools during the 1960s can be seen in Kiperbang (1980?). HBC believes that English films were more carefully costumed, at least the children, than on the Continent. Ths is, however, only an initial assessmemt. The English have also produce some wonderful chilod actors, many of who mmoved to America to male films in Hollywood.


We do not yet have a lot of information about the Estonian film industry. Estonia was part of the Tsarist Empire when movies first began to be made. The Russian film industry was, however, still in its infancy. We know of no Estonian films made before World war I. Nor are we sure to what extent foreign films were shown in Estinia and the rest of Tsarist Russia. After World War I (1914-18), Estonia gained its independence. We have no information on how the film industry developed in Estonia during this period. There were serious limitations on film industries in small countries like Estonia. Durung the first decade, films were silent which meant that there was the possibility of export, but with the appearance of the talkies (sound film), there would hsve been only the small national market to support the industry. It is likely that most films shown in Estoniaere American or German, but we have few details. Nor do we know to what extent Soviet films were shown because of the ideological content. The Soviet Union invaded Estinia during World War II and incorportated it into the Soviet Union. Estonia remained a art of the Siviet Union (except for a brief period of NAZI control) until the disolution of the Soviet Union (1992). During this era there were some films made in Estonia in the Estonioam language. We are not sure just how common this was. We do not yet information on the Estonian film industry since independence.


Almost as early as the first movie screening (1895) we note Finns experimenting with film (1896). The first Finnish film, hoewever was not profuced until a decade later (1907). Very few films followed and therewere periods in which no films were produced. Finland at the time was an autonomous part of the Tsarist Empire. We are not sure how Tsaris officials viewed national film industries as Russificatiion was a part of Tsarist policy. The overall Russian bfilm mindustry, however was not heavily censored in sharp contradt btomwhat bfollowed in Soviet times. Most Russian Tsarist era films were lost or destroyed by the Bolseheviks. Finnis=h films seem to have fared better. Theis was of course during the silent era. We assumne the subtuitles were done in Finnish but do not have details. The Tsarist Empire was convulsed by World War I (1914-18) and the Russian Revolution (1917). Finland declared its independence (1917) and had to fight a war with the invading Bolsheviks (1918). All of which affected economic and cultural activity like film making. The situatiin stabilized (1920s). Finnish society and cultural activity could thaen freedly develop without Tsarist or Communist constraints. Movie making incrrased and were part of Finih culturalm and popuklar life. As withn other small countries, the talkies (1930s), meant that Finishg novies could not easily bde mnarketed abriad, except oerhaos in Sweden and Estoinia. Three mnain studios began to doninate Finnish films (1930s), but the country was again convilsed, this time by Workd War II beginning with the Soviet Winter War invasion (1939-40) and then the Finnish Continuation War (1941-44). Right in the middle of the two wars, 'Suomisen Family' (1941) was produced showing fmily reyrning to normality. Three months after release, Finland plunged inyo the Continuaruin War. The vcountty was devestated and only slowly recovered. The three studios made several filns, competing with each other (1940s-50s). With the advent of television, film making declined (1960s). Most screenings as a result were foreign films. Studios closed down. Domestic films were heavily political and artistic which had little appeal to most movie goers. The creative community seeking high artistic expression and becoming disdainful of the mass audience seeing them as low-brows unwirthy if high-art. The creative community lost interest in film making. A few filmmakers produced popular films for the mass audience which was hungary for Finnish-language entertainment. These films were strongly criticused by disdainful critics, but proved popular successes. One of the best regarded Finnish films is 'The Unknown Soldier' directed by Edvin Laine (1955). It has become a tradition to broadcast it on television on Independence Day. 'Beneath the North Star' is a another Finnish classic, based on a triolgybby Väinö Linna. The film version was also directed by Laine (1968). It shows the Finnish Civil War from the perspective of the Red Guards. It appeared as Finland was breaking away from the Soviet orbit. Some but not all of the film's content would appel to Soviet censors, but the film was entered in the Moscow Film Festival. A crime comedy, 'Inspector Palmu's Mistake' directed by Matti Kassila and sequals were made (1960s). They are generally condidered the most popular Finnish films. Over time, the artistic community changed its condescending attuitude toward film bringing about a revivl in Finnish film (1990). Some 15–20 full-length feature films are mow being made annually. Foreign influences such as action films and wuxia (martial arts) have proven popular. The Finnkino company is the primary theater operator.

French film indusdtry
Figure 2.--This 1958 film had a large number of boys and provides a good idea of what French films were wearing at the time.


We have very little informtion about the French film industy. It is one of the world's important movie industry, but the films because of the language are not widely shown in the United States. Europoeans sare more ccustimed to foreign-lnguage films. We do have considerable information on French filns which our readers have provided. The French film industry has made some beautiful films about children, including both school films and coming of age films. Two wonderful classics are 'Au Revoir les Infantes' (France, 1990?) and 'Murmer of the Heart' (France, 1971). Clothes and school uniforms worn during the 1940s are shown in 'Au Revoir les Infantes'. Clothes and school uniforms worn a decade later are depicted in 'Murmer of the Heart', including the white knee socks worn by schoolboys at Catholic colleges (private secondary-level day and boarding schools). 'Zero for Conduct' (France, 19??) is another well known film. A film made by Americans, but shot in France is 'Happy Road'. A moore recent film is the charming 'Le petit Nicolas', an idealized view of French childhood based on beloved series of children's books.


HBC still has relatively little information on German films. HBC knows that before the NAZIs seized power (1933) that Germany had one of Europe's most vibrant film industries. After the NAZI takeover, considerable resources were given to cinema and other media. Technically the movies continued at a high level, but the propoganda element stifiled creativity, There were some powerful films, likke Triumph of the Will, but overall the quality of the films declined. After World War II (1939-45) a new film industry has arisen in Germany, but it has had little exposure outside Germany. The industry in East Gernmany (DDR) continued to be burdened with the heavy hand of censorship, this time Communist ideology. A few films reached international status. The Tin Drum is probably the most famous. Throrogh all the twist and turns of German history. Many of the films have wonderfully chronicled fashions and clothing, including children's clothes.


HBC has only limited information on the Greek movie industry. We do have some information on some individual Greek films. HBC has lottle information on Greek movies at this time. Movie depictions through the 1970s commonly show Greek boys wearing short pants and often sandals, although kneesocks were not as common as in many other European countries. The shorts were often quite short. We do note a Disney movie, The Moonspinners (1963) with Haley Mills. It is set in Greek sea side village. A boy with an important part wears the short cut short pants that were popular in Europe at the time. There are, however, many other examples. Several interesting films were made in the 1990s. Ta delfinakia tou Amvrakikou (The Little Dolphins of Amvrakikos Bay) is set in the 1930s and shows boys wearing sailor suits. O psylos (The Flea) is set in a small mountain village during the 1950s and shows a boy wearing short trousers, sweater, boots, and knee socks. I piso porta (Backdoor) is set during the late 1960s in Athens. It shows a boy wearing shorts, shirt and white dress socks.


HBC knows of a few Hungariam movies which have provided some information. HBC believes that films made in Hungary and other Eastern European countries often were low-buget affairs. Films with contemporay settings often did not have elaborate costumes, but rather had the boys, espdecially if they were not main characters wear their own clothes--thus providing a useful glimpse of contemprary styles.


An Irish reader tells us, "To be honest, Irish films are only in the last few years with Irish Directors making their debuet, and getting on well across the water. Two good ones are, The Commitments and Angel's Ashes." The Irish story has been told by many foreign film makers. Ireland is one of those countries that figures in many foreign films. I'm not sure about British films, but there are many American films. Several deal with Ireland and many more films touch on Irish immigrants in America or have Irish characters.


HBC at this time unfortunately has virtually no information on Italian films or the Italian film industry. This is of course is a major failing as Italy has a very important film industry and has made many beautiful films. We have collected some information on a few Italian films. Italian clothes styles are nicely shown during the 1940s in The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Italy/Germany, 1970?). Other important films are Padre Perdone and Life is Beautiful (Italy, 1998). I also liked an American film about Italy, It Started in Naples (US, 1960).


Latvia was part of the Tsarist Empire when movies were developed in the West and first appeared. The first movies werecexhibited in Riga (1896). Movies prived very popular and numerous cinemas were opened, showing foreign films. This was fairly simple at the time because as movies were silent films, omnly the captions had to be translated. A a result of World War I, Latvia achieved its indeoendence (1919). The first Latvian feature (meaning short film) followed shortly after independence. It was "I Went to the War," directed by Vilis Seglins (1920). The Splendid Palace cinema (now named Cinema Riga) was openbed (1923). It was a sumptous, richly decorated theater--the most elaborate in the Baltic states. We know very little about Latvia's early film industry. We suspect that manybof the films imported for exhibition were American and German. We do not know if Soviet films were taken. With the invention of talkies (1929), watching foreign films became more complicated. Latvia was invaded and annexed by the Soviet Union (1940). The country was occupied by the Germans (1941-44/45), but then reoocupied by the Soviets (1944/45). From that time on the films made and shown in Latvia were controlled by Soviet authorities. We are not sure how Latvian film makers fared during the Stalimnist era. Not do we know to what extent they were allowed to make films in the Latvian lanuage. Most of the films shown in theaters woukd have been Soviet film made in the Russian language. The first Latvian color film was a documentary, "Soviet Latvia" (1951). It ws awarded the Special Prize of Jury at the Cannes International Film Festival. Another Latvian film "Zidra Ritenberga" in Malva won the Coppa Volpi alla migliore attrice at the La Biennale di Venezia (1957). The Riga Film Studio was opened (1963). The beginning of the "The European Documentary Film Symposium" is held in Jurmala (1977). The first International Film Forum "Arsenals," now a biannual event is held in the final years of the Soviet era (1986). Latvian film making picked up as the Soviet Unioin began to unravel. Juris Podnieks produced the aclaimed chronicle on the agony of the Soviet Empire "Hello, Do you Hear Us?" (1989). Ivars Seleckis makes the documentary "Crossroad Street" (1989). It is well received in the West, earning the prestigious Felix prize from the European Film Academy, The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize (The Grand Prize) at the Yamagata Festival. With regained independence, the Latvian Academy of Culture was founded (1990), giving Latvians the opportunity to acquire professional education in filmmaking for the first time. The animated puppet film 'Let's Fly' directed by or Nils Skapans is awarded the Crystal Bear for the best children short at the 18th International Childrens Film Festival in Berlin (1995). The only Latian film we havec found for HBC at this time is Novogodniy Perepoloh (1996). Director Anna Viduleja's graduation film at the London National Film & TV School, "Nocturnal" is screened at the programme of the Cannes International Film Festival (2000). Latvia was an independent country from 1919 until 1940 when the Soviets invaded. We do not know if they had a film industry during that period. Nor do we know if the Soviets permitted Latvian-language films.


The first film known to have been made in Lithuania was shot by Lithuanian-American Antanas Raciunas. He filmed the sights of his native village for fellow Lithuanian immigrants. Raciunas and Vladislavas Starevicius made "Prie Nemuno"/"By the Nieman River" (1909). The first actual Lithuanian film was a newsreel made after World War I and Lithuanian independence (1921). The first Lithuanian feature film was "Onyte ir Jonelis"/"Annie and Johnn" (1931). It was directed by Jurgis Linartas and Vladas Stipaitis. Lithuanian movie theaters as a result showed mostly foreign films. We are not sure which country films were the most popular, we suspect American and German films. We do not know if Soviet films were shown. The Lithuanian film indutry had little time to develop before Woirld War II and the Soiviet occupation and annexation (1940/44). Early in the Soviet era a newsreel studio was opened. It was moved to Vilnius (1949). It developed into the Lithuanian Film Studio/Cinema Studio of Lithuania (1956). One of their films was Electronnaya Babooshka/Electronic Granny (1985) based on a Ray Bradbury book. We suspect the choice of a Bradury book was a subtle ctitocvisdm of Soviet censorship, although this was a non-political children's film.

(The) Netherlands

HBC has noted some excellent Dutch films. We know very little, however, about the Dutch film industry at this time. Films in Dutch, unfortunately have a rather limited market. Nor do we know of very many Dutch films. There are several American versions of A Dog of Flanders, which was written by an English writer. We do know that the Dutch have a vibrant film industry. Because few Americans speak Dutch, it is not well known in the United States. One excellent film set in World War II is The Assault (1986). One charming recent film is Kruimeltje ("Little Crum") based on a beloved Dutch children's book.


HBC has no information on Norwegian films at this time. The U.S. disney film Shipwrecked provides a view of a Norwegian boy serving as a ship's boy in the 1850s.

Polisdh film industry
Figure 4.--A HBC reader reports that the Polish film "Zmory" (Dreaming)n is a first rate film production in all respects. The film showcases a wide variety of boys' fashions. The setting appears to be about 1900.


Readers have suggested a few Polish movies, but HBC know little about the Polish film industry at this time. We know nothing about pre-World War II films. Of course Polish films were heavily influenced by the Russians and Communist indeology until 1989 when a new democratic government came to power. We are hoping that Polish readers will provide information for us.


We know very little bout the Romanian film indutry. An European reader has montioned the Romnin film, a reader mentioned the 2000 film--'Aferim!'. It is about Romanian gypseys.


Russia has a very important film industry. Momentous political changes in Russia during the 20th century make it more meaningful to consider the Soviet film industry by regime than a strict chronological basis. We know little about the Russian film industry in the Tsarist era. Russian film making is dominated by the Soviet Union (1918-92). It was a heavily censored industry with ideology being at the center of most films until well after Stalin's death. The consequences of misteps bu film makers here were draconian. Gradually censorship declined, although was never totally absent. We know very little at this time about the film industry in modern Russia. Russian films are virtually unknown in the West. Our Russian readers have suggested a few Russian movies and we are gradually learning more about Russian films. Russian films dealing with te every-day life of average Russians are especially interesting. Hopefully as we require more information we will gain some insights into the clothes worn by Russian boys and their Young Pioneer uniforms.


HBC know of a fews films about, but not very many. One of our favorites is "The Green Years", based on the A.J. Cronin book. Another interesting film is "Wee Geordie". Scotland has only a small film industry. Many films about Scotland were in fact made by foreign film makers. Some readers have complained that our list does not include some Scottish staples, but remember we are focusing on films that illuminate children and the clothing they wore. Until the 1970s,most films about Scotland were basically made by American or English companies and often romantizied Scotland. SBeginning in the 1970s, films made in Scotland appeared with a harder edge. Here Bill Douglas played a major role in devloping these new Scottish films. Even so, the best known film about Scotland is "Braveheart" made by an america production--perhaps explaining why Stirling Bridg was left out of the Battle of Stirling Bridge.


We know very little about the Serbian movie industry. As far as we know, there was no national film industry of any importance before World War I. After the War, Serbia became part of Yugoslavia. We believe that there were some development, but most of the films shown were imported films, including American and German films. After World War II we believe that the Communist Government supported and comtrolled the film industry. Zvezda film (a federal enterprise), and Avala Alm and Lovcen film (Serbia and Montenegro republic enterprises) produced feature films and shorts. The Association of Film Artists of Serbia (UFUS) was laubched (1951). The Secoby Belgrade Cinema Club began making films (1964). Their first film was 'The Traitor' (Izdajnik) directed by Kokan Rakonjac. Gradually more republic studios appeared decentralizing production. Neoplanta Film began operations in Vojvodina (1972). Their first feature film was 'Traces of a Dark Girl' (Tragovi crne devojke) directed by Zdravko Randic. Kosovo Film's first feature was 'How to Die' (Kako umreti) directed by Miodrag Stamenkovic. The Yugoslav Government issues a new law--the Film Industry Law and Law on the Independent Performance of Artistic and Other Activities in the Field of Culture (1982). This somewhat loosened government control of film making. Individuals could organize into working communities TRZ (PWC) to produce films. The first and perhaps most important weas the Art Film of Belgrade. Other TRZs followed,mostly in specilized areas. Film producers were joined by deveral new distributors (Avala pro-film, Mumva film, Inex film, Zeta film, etc.), Beograd Film emerged as the biggest movie operators organisation. Some other enterproses (Decje novine pubiishing organisation, Association of Cinema Operators of Serbia, etc.) also produced occassional films. This was the time that Yugoslavia began breaking apart. After the other member states seceeded from Yugoslabia (1990s), Sebia became an independent country again. This had a major impact on the Serbian film industry, primrily because the potential market as substantially reduced, both individuals and movie theaters. Non Serbs in Crostia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the other republics (except for Montenegro), affected by the wars and Serb attrocities no longer wanted to watch Serb films. This affected both the TRZs as well as the established studios (1991). The NATO sanctions on Serbia because of attrocities committed in Bosnia, Croata, and Serbia advervesly affected movie theaters, making it very difficult to obtaoin foreign films to show as well as projection equipment. The Radio and Television Organisation of Belgrade/Serbia (RTV Beograd / Srbija) became one of the most important film producers or co-producers. Another major co-producer was Avala film which was once the biggest producer in Serbia. It had the equipment and srtidios needed to make films. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia attempted to help the industry throght subsidies. The Serbian film industry ws entirely privatized. The major studios are Cinema Design, MP Agency, Monte Royal Pictures, and Victoria Film. We know very little about individual Serb films. A reader tells us about a well-produced film he saw, 'Montevideo' (1992).


HBC has little information about the Spanish film industry. We have seen a number of Spanish films and many have a magical, lyrical quality about them. Some employ magic in a comedic sence while others have a darker quality about them. We do recall seeing a lovely little film entitled Tobi if I recall correctly which employs magic in a comedic sence. A HBC reader remembers seeing the film Butterfly, presumably Mariposa set around a school during the 1930s Civil War. The boys wear mostly short pants, some wear school smocks. Another delighful little Soanish film is Manolo Gafotos (1999?). We have not seen, but have noted wonderful reviews for The Devil's Backbone (2001?). It is set during the Spanish Civil War and focuses on an unexploded bomb at an orphanage. This film employs magic in a darker sence.


Sweden has a well developed film industry, although we know little about it at this time. One reviewer with a rather unkind site about Sweden writes, " The Swedish movie industry revolves entirely around the rather revolting practice of Swedish people making lots more little Swedish people. If it weren't for their movie industry, the Swedes would have died out long ago." One serious problem faced by the industry is that the Swedish speaking public is so limited. This of course limits the money which can be spent on a film and thus the production values. It also means that it is difficult to afford major international stars. Perhaps the best known Swedish film showing boys' fashions is Fanny and Alexander. I am sure that there are more important films. Hopefully a Swedish reader will tell us more about their country's film industry and individual filmsd of interest.


No information yet.


I do not know if movies were made in Serbia before World War I. There may have been films made in Yugoslavia which was formed fter the War. Many countries had trouble competing with American Hollyood films or the films of the larger European countries like Germany, especially duting the silent era. After talkies were developed, locally made films had a greater advantage. As far as we know, however, the Yugoslav Government made no great effort to support a film industry. This changed after the Communist take-over following World War II (1945). The Communists who took over all media sectors wanted to use a film industry to make propaganda. As a result, the Government made Government funds available to create a modern film industry. With Government support came Government controls over what films were made and what was said and depicted. The restrictions on non-coforming film makers were no lethal as during the Soviet Stalinist era, but they were very real. No private film making was possible. Some forign film makers came to Yugoslavia because of the low profuction costs. With the break up of Yugoslavia (1990s), film making indutries developed in the new independent countries. These cuntries do not offer the support or the restrictions of the Communist regime.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main movie indivisual country page]
[Return to the Main movie country page]
[Return to the Main movie page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 5:50 PM 2/23/2010
Last updated: 6:09 AM 3/8/2021