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 31 to 45 of 103 results.
[Military March] or [Fire Brigade Turn-out in the Country]
The 12th Infantry Brigade march from Dover to Arundel in this film by Charles Goodwin Norton of 1899.
Sheep Washing; or, Washing Sheep
Sheep washed in a river is filmed by Charles Goodwin Norton in the late 1890s.
The Bill Poster; or, Shop
Advertising animated photographs in a shop window results in a fight in this sketch by Charles Goodwin Norton of the late 1890s.
[Euston Road] or [Horse-drawn Traffic in Euston Road]
Traffic moves in all directions in this film by Charles Goodwin Norton, shot from the side of a crossroads.
The Postman and the Nursemaid
Two mischievous boys disrupt a postman and a nursemaid in a garden in this comedy by Charles Goodwin Norton.
A cycle corps are filmed during shooting practice by Charles Goodwin Norton.
Upside Down; or, The Human Flies
A group become the subjects of a man's magic trick in this Robert Paul production of the late 1890s, featuring the animation techniques of Walter Booth.
As Seen Through a Telescope
A man using a telescope to spy on an affectionate couple is sent flying in this 1900 film by George Albert Smith.
Grandma’s Reading Glass
A boy examines the objects around him with a large magnifying glass as he sits with his grandma in this 1900 film by George Albert Smith.
Let Me Dream Again
A middle-aged man dreams of a younger companion in this 1900 film by George Albert Smith.
The House that Jack Built
A young girl's house is destroyed and magically rebuilt by her younger brother in this film by George Albert Smith produced in 1900.
Topsy Turvy Dance by Three Quaker Maidens
In this turn of the century comedy by George Albert Smith, three women in Quaker costume perform a dance that is revealed to be not quite what it seems.
Attack on a China Mission (Bluejackets to the Rescue)
A shoot out between Boxers and a missionary's rescuers is the subject of this film by James Williamson, produced in 1900.
Explosion of a Motor Car
A policeman assesses the scene of an exploded car in this comedy by Cecil Hepworth.
How it Feels to be Run Over
A motorcar collides with the camera in this Cecil Hepworth film.
Showing 31 to 45 of 103 results.