Friday, 27 January 2012

Edwardian Lassie

If you enjoyed Lassie, then Rescued by Rover is the silent film for you! The title does rather give away the plot, but there's plenty to enjoy even without a great element of surprise. I particularly liked the distraught father's insistence upon donning a top hat before rushing out of the house, and the happy ending for all concerned - including the 'villain'. 


Cecil Hepworth, director, was born in Beaufort Gardens, Lewisham. The son of a magic lanternist, he developed a film career and established studios in in Walton-on-Thames. While they churned out several films a week, this one was probably the first to include paid actors and was among Hepworth Studios' greatest successes. It even had to be re-shot twice as the original negatives wore out. 

Hepworth's wife Margaret both wrote it and starred as the mother, while Hepworth played the father. Even the baby was their daughter Barbara. After all, why pay half a guinea to an actor when you could appear yourself? As for the real star of the film, Blair the dog, he was the family pet! 



5 comments:

London Remembers said...

Lovely little film, thanks for posting it. We've found two memorials for Hepworth: NW1 & SE13: http://www.londonremembers.com/subjects/cecil-hepworth .

SilverTiger said...

By modern standards, these old films are often a little creaky but they are brave efforts, given the technology of the time.

One of the things that always interests me (more than the cheesy story!) is the incidental scenery. For example, in this one, the horse and cart and the dress of the people.

These authentic settings and views are precious and can help us get a feeling for the age in which the film was made.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you, London Remembers - and how interesting that Hepworth's place of birth seems to be controversial! The dedicated site Hepworth Film has a scan of his birth certificate, which confirms Beaufort Gardens.

SilverTiger, I agree that the scenery is more interesting than the story!

HughB said...

They filmed a version of Robin Hood in Walton on Thames - there are still a few trees of the forest left, though not many now. First they built a large crescent shaped building on the site - the Council Offices - which was quite an impressive edifice as I recall. This was later replaced - inevitably - by a Sainsburys' Homebase - sic gloria transit mundi.

Chris Partridge said...

I love the way he gets in the boat and paddles across when you can clearly see the bridge in the background....

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