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Original French "Natan 175" 17.5mm talkie projector

The Pathé-Frères 17.5mm film gauge had arrived in the late 1920s as a silent format for filming and projecting both amateur and professional movie films. The filmstock was non-inflammable and had a slightly larger picture area than Kodak's 16mm format. The printed films were not sold, just rented from the Pathé-Freres film library. In France the 17.5mm film size was used in many thousands of the small village ('rural') Pathé cinemas. In the UK it was just intended for use in the home and small halls for occassional shows.

17.5mm optical sound-on-film was launched in 1933/4 with a sound system added to the silent projector. A smaller projector was provided for amateur use - a modified version of this French machine was manufactured here in the UK and marketed as the Pathéscope "Home Talkie". By 1938 a larger machine appeared, marketed in France as the "Super Rural" and in the UK as the Pathéscope Super 17.5mm Talkie projector. The commercially produced 17.5mm printed films (made from 35mm cinema releases by printing two copies side-by-side on specially perforated stock) were again not sold, just available from Pathé-Freres (France) and Pathéscope (UK) film libraries.

In the UK, distribution of the 17.5mm films was initially from the Pathé cinema distribution company Pathé Pictures Ltd but almost immediately was passed to the 'home movie' side of Pathé - Pathéscope Ltd. New 17.5mm library additions were mentioned in the house magazine Pathéscope Monthly and a number of illustrated film hire catalogues were produced. Sadly these catalogues were not dated, frustrating for enthusiasts and collectors!

I have a couple of original 17.5mm Pathéscope film library catalogues and a couple of photocopied ones. By intelligent guess work - number of titles available and reference numbers used, hopefully we can approximately date these catalogues. The original ones seem to scan quite effectively, so here are (eventually!) a few of the UK Pathéscope 17.5mm film library catalogues, complete with illustrations and descriptions. I have referenced them 'A', 'B' etc. Incidentally the films are listed by number of 'reels' - these each contained up to 500ft of film and provided the same running time as the standard 35mm cinema 'reel' (up to 1000ft) - around 9 minutes. This can give us an idea of an approximate running time for the films listed.

Initially the UK 17.5mm films seem to have been exactly the same running time as the original 35mm cinema releases. However towards the end of 17.5mm in the UK, the film releases seem to have been shortened in the same way as the 9.5mm sound films - in fact it appears that by then, the same master material was used for both Pathéscope film gauges.



1.  Probably the first Pathéscope illustrated film library list (around 1934/5?) - LIBRARY LIST A 22Dec2014
     (Interesting that this early 8 page catalogue does not have film reference numbers
     and film distribution was by Pathéscope and by Pathé Pictures Ltd.)
2. The next Pathéscope library catalogue that I have is probably the second - LIBRARY LIST B 23Mar2015 
    (Again this 22 page catalogue has no film reference numbers, dated  from around 1937. 
     obviously a later one, as distribution now is just by Pathéscope, not Pathé Pictures Ltd
     - not 1938 as no Betty Boop or Popeye cartoons yet, but other feature titles were announced by 1937
     - at least some descriptions for some shorts and cartoons, and full length features if you can find them!
    - sadly most of the feature films also released on 9.5mm optical sound were shortened )
3.  Hopefully more to come .......



Please feel free to correct typos, query information etc. I am usually interested in purchasing 17.5mm items, especially films in runnable condition, film library catalogues not in my collection, and camera / Pathéscope Super 17.5mm Talkie projector instruction books.
Contact me by E-Mail at:
presto @ (No gaps in actual e-mail address)

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Created 22Dec2014 ...... Last updated 26 March 2017 ......... 175liblists.htm ......... © MMX1V Grahame.L. Newnham
23Mar2015 - My second 17.5mm film library catalogue scans added