Title ID 8397Collection ID1188
Title£100 Reward
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Family life
KeywordsAnimals Social Class Everyday Life Family
LocalBrighton and Hove
RegionalBrighton and Hove
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionJames Williamson
DirectorJames Williamson
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A dog earns a reward which transforms the fortunes of a family in this 1908 James Williamson production.


"£100 Reward" appears on a title card before the film opens with a scene in which two burglars appear to be stealing from a disheveled a bedroom. They climb out of the open window before a maid enters and rings the service bell in alarm at the sight of the room. Another maid, the butler and the owner of the house, Lady Winifred Owen, enter in dismay at the mess, checking in the draws to find her jewelry missing. The butler climbs out of the window after the thieves. In a nearby country lane, they leap over a gate pursued by the butler. One fires a gun in his direction and he collapses to the floor. They stash the loot in a drain pipe set into a bank.

A woman is washing clothes at a small wooden table inside a sparse cottage. A baby in a basket is set on the floor and a dog sits in the corner of the room. Her husband returns to empty cupboards, and take the dog out with him. He reads that Lady Winifred Owen offers a reward of £100 for information regarding gold and diamond brooches, rings and necklaces "stolen from "West Dean" on February 25th 1908...". Continuing on his way, he stops to talk to another man, who offers to buy the dog. The man takes the money but changes his mind as the dog seems distressed. The dog then discovers the burglars' hiding place, dragging the jewelry out of the pipe. The man takes it to Lady Winifred who thanks the dog and owner, writing him a cheque and giving him a basket of food to take home. He shows the policemen where the dog found the stolen belongings and they arrest the thieves when they return to their hiding place.

Back at the cottage, the woman carries out her chores in comfort. They have new furniture, a high chair for the baby, net curtains, pictures on the walls, vase of flowers and a mangle. Bread and tea is laid on a new tablecloth for when he husband comes home. Lady Owen arrives with gifts for the dog and the baby.

Related resources


Sopocy, Martin. James Williamson: Studies and Documents of a Pioneer of the Film Narrative n.p. Madison/Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Date: 1998

Barnes, John. The Beginnings of the Cinema in England 1894-1901. Five Volumes, n.p. University of Exeter Press

Date: 1996-1998 All five volumes of John Barnes’s archaeological study of early cinema charts its development between 1894 and 1901. Barnes founded the Barnes Museum of Cinematography with his brother William in the 1960s. The collection provided primary material for Barnes’s study of early cinema.

Low, Rachael. The History of the British Film 1896-1906 n.p. George Allen & Unwin

Date: 1949

McKernan, Luke. “The Brighton School and the Quest for Natural Colour” in Simon Popple and Vanessa Toulmin (eds.) Visual Delights – two: Exhibition and Reception. n.p. Eastleigh: John Libbey

Date: 2005

Gray, Frank (ed.) Hove Pioneers and the Arrival of Cinema. n.p. University of Brighton

Date: 1996 Published on the occasion of the 1995 University of Brighton exhibition concerning the work of George Albert Smith and James Williamson. Essays included are by John Barnes, Ine van Dooren, Frank Gray and Martin Sopocy.

Gray, Frank. “James Williamson's 'Composed Picture': Attack on a China Mission - Bluejackets to the Rescue” in Fullerton, John (ed.) Celebrating 1895. n.p. Sydney: John Libbey & Co.

Date: 1998


The Barnes Collection

Location: Hove Museum and Art Gallery Twins John and William Barnes founded the Barnes Museum of Cinematography in the 1960s. After the closure, the early part of the collection moved to Hove. The collection includes cameras, projectors and material relating to the Brighton School of film pioneers.


Location: BFI National Archive, British Film Institute, London Holds many films made by George Albert Smith between 1897 and 1905.

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

BFI National Archive copies kept on file SASE 950000.


Screenonline: James Williamson

British Film Institute site containing biographical information and film synopses.

Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: James Williamson

Biographical overview and further reading.