Title ID 8405Collection ID1189
TitleThe Jonah Man; or, the Traveller Bewitched
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Urban Life Transport
KeywordsRailway Stations Travel Transport Trains
RegionalBrighton and Hove
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionCecil Hepworth
DirectorCecil Hepworth and Lewin Fitzhamon
FormatBlack & White Silent
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An unlucky traveler's plans are disrupted by disappearing objects and vehicles in this 1904 film by Cecil Hepworth.


A man puts on his hat and coat, and pulls up a chair to tie his shoelaces, ready to go out. As he sits down his hat and coat dissolve and he stumbles over his chair in confusion, reaching for his coat again. In another room, he slips his jacket on and sits at the table as a maid enters the room with tea and a newspaper. Table and maid start to fade away, reappearing by the fireplace. Startled, he pulls his chair up to the table when the chair moves away too. After falling to the floor he shakes his fist at the chair and moves it back to the table. Sitting once more he takes up a teacup and the newspaper, but when the table vanishes completely it falls to the floor. Out in the street the man hails a stagecoach whose horses disappear when he gets on. When he returns to the street the coach completely vanishes. The next stagecoach disappears as he jumps on, leaving him and his hat, umbrella and case rolling on the dusty ground. He gathers his belongings and runs to the train station. He trips on the platform and the train disappears as it pulls into the station. Another vanishes as it moves past. Walking on he suddenly stops, sitting on his case. Springing up again he starts to swipe at the air, punching and fighting with an invisible force. He slowly fades away, disappearing in a puff of smoke.

Contextual information

Hepworth and Co. was renamed the Hepworth Manufacturing Company in 1904. Hepworth stopped directing films, handing over responsibility to others such as Fitzhamon, who had taken over as 'Stage Manager' from Percy Stow. Stow had left to form the Clarendon Film Company. Fitzhamon left Hepworth in 1912 after eight years to form Fitz Films.

Related resources


Hepworth, Cecil. Came the Dawn: Memories of a Film Pioneer n.p. London: Phoenix House

Date: 1951 Autobiography by Cecil Hepworth.

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 1906-1914. n.p. London: Allen and Unwin

Date: 1973 Volumes 1-4 contain material on Hepworth and his films.

Gifford, Denis. “Fitz: The Old Man of the Screen.” in Charles Barr (ed.) All Our Yesterdays

Date: 1986


BFI National Archive, British Film Institute, London

Holds copies of many Hepworth films.

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

BFI National Archive, copy kept on file SASE 950000.


BFI Screenonline: Cecil Hepworth

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

BFI Screenonline: Lewin Fitzhamon

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

BFI Screenonline: Percy Stow

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: Cecil Hepworth

Provides biographical overview and further reading.

Hepworth Films

Website dedicated to the life and work of Cecil Hepworth, includes information on his ‘film stars’, such as Alma Taylor and Chrissie White.