Theme Early Film in the South East
This theme captures all aspects of early film-making in the region from fiction to non-fiction and from early one minute actualities to hour long features. Drawn from the collections of SASE and the BFI, the early work of G. A. Smith, James Williamson, Cecil Hepworth, and Charles Goodwin Norton represents the beginnings of film in England and the joint interest SASE and the Royal Pavilion & Museums has cultivated over many years in early film and early cinema.
George Albert Smith and James Williamson both lived and worked in Hove, making films from 1897 to 1905. It is during this short period that film emerged as a new technology and a new form of entertainment. Through their respective practices, they made significant contributions to the early development of both film editing and film narrative.
Smith (1864-1959) established his ‘film factory’ at Hove in 1897 and his productions drew upon his knowledge of contemporary music hall, theatre, pantomime, popular literature, mesmerism, the magic lantern and the work of other film-makers. He made two very significant edited films: The Kiss in the Tunnel (1899) and Grandma’s Reading Glass (1900). Williamson (1856-1933) drew on similar impulses for his films as well as photography, aspects of contemporary English life and current events such as the Boer War and the Boxer Rebellion. His films of 1900 and 1901 drew upon Smith’s conception of the shot and the edited sequence and resulted in his multi-shot narrative films: Attack on a China Mission (1900) and Fire! (1901).
The Progress Film Company’s studio of Shoreham Beach represents the first feature films to be made entirely in the region. It operated from 1919 to 1922 and dedicated itself to works of fiction drawn from Victorian and contemporary British literature. SASE’s two films - Little Dorrit (1920) and The Mayor of Casterbridge (1921) - are both short versions of the originals but they give a good sense of how Progress and its producer Sidney Morgan produced faithful adaptations. Progress’ studio complex was unique at the time given that it comprised a studio, darkroom facilities, a preview theatre and accommodation for cast and crew. It mirrored the new Hollywood studios, albeit on a smaller scale. Progress produced seventeen features for the British market between 1919 and 1922 and this work is very much part of that history of British film and television drama which is associated with national identity and heritage.
Gray, Frank (ed.) Hove Pioneers and the Arrival of Cinema n.p. University of Brighton, 1996.
Barnes, John. The Beginnings of the Cinema in England, 1894-1901 Vols. 1-5.~ London: University of Exeter Press, 1998.
Films in this theme:
Showing 91 to 95 of 95 results.
This twenty minute silent film represents the surviving footage of the first film adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel 'Little Dorrit', a story of love, money and imprisonment in the Victorian era.
Winchelsea and its Surroundings. A Day with Harry Furniss and his Sketchbook
Illustrator and caricaturist Harry Furniss is filmed with his sketchbook at various locations in and around Winchelsea and Hastings. The actuality footage is introduced with intertitles and is intercut with images of sketches in progress.
A Lowland Cinderella
Joan Morgan stars as Hester, whose story of misfortune, manipulation, love and redemption mirrors that of Cinderella. Set between the highlands of Scotland, Intertitles provide chapter titles, such as "A Great Day" and "The Storm Comes" and dialogue between characters, but also introduce the characters and their players.
The story of Tansy, a shepherd's granddaughter, who is adored and mistreated by the men in her life, told over nearly an hour of footage and intertitles. Scenes are shot on location, setting action in the rolling hills of the Devon countryside, as well as interior sets. Intertitle styles make visual distinctions between spoken phrases by the characters, shown in bold white type over black, and the writer's voice, which is conveyed by elaborate script over the same still image. Several interjections are made by Hepworth himself, remarking on the narrative as it unfolds.
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Sidney Morgan presents Thomas Hardy's tale of a man who changes his ways and makes a success of his life after wrongdoing his wife and child only to loose it all, the first film entirely shot on location in Britain and produced in 1921, the same year as A Lowland Cinderella starring Joan Morgan.
Showing 91 to 95 of 95 results.