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Dubai 1975

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Adam Curtis | 17:00 UK time, Monday, 30 November 2009

Here is a film made by the BBC in 1975 about Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At that point he was the ruler's son, but he would become the man who helped create modern Dubai.

It is a glimpse of Dubai just before it started to become the strange fantasy world it is today. It has a great creepy British under-secretary for foreign affairs, plus very good tartan fashions.

It is also wonderfully shot. The cameraman was Erik Durschmied. He shot many BBC factual films in the 60s and 70s. I think he films in an incredibly modern way. His camera does exactly what you would do if you were in the room - gazing and flitting between details - yet it manages to always remain beautifully composed.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Please please please make this content available to those of us in the USA...we need it desperately!

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes I too cannot view any video posted, but does the BBC or (should they) really protect their footage that much?

  • Comment number 3.

    The creepy under foreign secretary is of course David Ennals described by Wilson/Callaghans Policy Unit Chief (and supreme political diarist of the period) Bernard Donaghue as "Now I know what my father meant by 'farting in the wind' he is a human fart".

    Wonderful blog of course, thanks.

  • Comment number 4.

    A wonderful video - there seems to be so much brimming under the surface in that 15 minutes. I do hope you manage to find a way to make the content available to people outside the UK as they are truly missing out - after all, it's a great advertisement for the BBC.

  • Comment number 5.

    Fascinating video. I see what you mean about the modern look to the piece, not many 70s documentaries will have aged this well.

  • Comment number 6.

    I would very much like to watch this film, however I live in Canada. Working for Canada's national public broadcaster (CBC), I understand that international streaming rights are often prohibitively expensive - that it is not our intention to appear as though we are "hiding" or "hoarding" information as far too often people assume. That being said, if there is another place I could watch this film (from Canada) I'd be grateful to know where that place may be.

  • Comment number 7.

    You might like to have a look at Geoff Manaugh's recent post 'Cities Gone Wild' https://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/cities-gone-wild.html that links to some good photo's of contemporary Dubai in decline.

    The gate showing 'Dubailand' followed by a shot of the convoy of sewage trucks makes for an interesting view of the strange place that Dubai has become.

  • Comment number 8.

    Please provide us in The United States who do not believe in the existence of intellectual property the name and release date of all footage you provide here, so that it can be stolen and viewed in this very free nation that I live in.

  • Comment number 9.

    Wow! That is fantastic! "One of the finest horsemen in the Persian gulf!" It reminds me a bit of the guy from the Cannonball Run played by Jamie Farr (I wonder if the character was even based on him?)

    It's amazing to see that in just over 30 years we've gone from a situation where Dubai was a "tiny sheikdom" to being such an economic powerhouse. When you look at the sheer variety and number of jobs in dubai and compare them to the meagre pickings you can currently find down your local job centre then it really brings it home to you how quickly the epicentre of the global economy has slipped Eastward.

    Great, great footage - and thanks for sharing it!


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