Title ID 8410Collection ID1189
TitleHawkeye, the Showman
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Working Life
KeywordsAccidents Performing Arts Entertainment Fancy dress Theatre Social Class
RegionalBrighton and Hove
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionCecil Hepworth
DirectorHay Plumb
CastHay Plumb
FormatBlack & White Silent
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A showman has bad luck with employees in this 1913 Hepworth production, directed by Hay Plumb.


A raucous crowd is gathered in front of a sign that reads "10/ prize to anyone who can tie the knot that Hawkeye cannot get out of in 10 seconds". The showman is introduced by the confederate. An intertitle reads "The Confederate's Weakness Gets Him the Sack". The mustached confederate returns and drunkenly falls up the steps, disturbing Hawkeye, who comes outside. The angry showman throws him over the balcony. Giving him money, he tells him to leave before running off to hurriedly find a replacement. He comes across a shady character smoking by a wall. He agrees to work for Hawkeye, taking money from the men and women lining up to see the show.

The restless audience are seated inside. A man bats the drunk ex-confederate on the head with his umbrella. Backstage, Hawkeye peers at the crowd and prepares to go on stage. The new confederate introduces the showman, holding the board to encourage members of the audience to try and tie a knot that Hawkeye cannot get out of. A man volunteers, tying the rope around the showman. Hawkeye shuffles to the back of the stage, where the confederate is waiting, drinking and smoking. He laughs to the camera, undoing the knots to free the showman. He audience cheer while the volunteer stands on the stage, shaking his head in disbelief. A second man attempts. The audience watch with open mouths, clapping and scrapping with one another when Hawkeye once again becomes free. A pair of volunteers go up to the stage to tie the showman up. As he struggles to the back of the stage the now drunk and bored confederate leaves his post. An intertitle read "Hawkeye's New Assistant Decamps With 'The Dibs'". Back at the entrance, the confederate lifts the takings and runs off, leaving Hawkeye defenseless against vegetables and belongings thrown by the angry crowd. An intertitle reads "I wonder is they'll miss me sometimes." a barrage of cabbages, baskets, hats and other objects destroy the set. Covered in flour, the showman cowers behind the backdrop.

Contextual information

Hepworth and Co. was renamed the Hepworth Manufacturing Company in 1904. Hepworth stopped directing films between 1904 and 1911. Hay Plumb was associated with Hepworth between 1911 and 1915.

Hay Plumb's filmography includes several Hawkeye films, and the Lieutenant Pie series.

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 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.