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Hero image for Swinging the Lambeth Walk

Swinging the Lambeth Walk

Len LyeMusic Video – 1939

Inspired by a song in 1937 musical Me and My Girl, 'The Lambeth Walk' was a popular dance named after a working class area of London. Kiwi-born filmmaker Len Lye edited together different versions of the song (including Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stéphane Grappelli on violin) for this short film, which is an early forerunner to music videos. Lye combined the music with various abstract images, painting and scratching directly onto the film stock. The colourful, dynamic piece of animation was made with public money — from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Information — scandalising some bureaucrats at the time.

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