1914 on Film
What did our forebears watch a century ago? Discover the cinema of 1914 in this very mixed programme from the year the world changed.
Cinema a century ago was a new, exciting, very democratic form of entertainment coming into its own. Film had left behind the music halls and fairgrounds it had first inhabited and found a home of its own. It was the beginning of the age of the picture palaces.
These often luxurious early cinemas sprang up across the country, offering friendly, sociable entertainment - a more family-oriented alternative to theatres and pubs. Longer feature films were still rare, and the typical programme was an ever-changing roster of short items with live musical accompaniment: perhaps a newsreel, an 'interest' film or travelogue, a comedy or two and a short drama.
Few at the start of 1914 forecast the storm that would engulf Europe by the end of summer. These films also tell us much about the state of the nation in the months before and after the outbreak of a war that would change Britain and film.
100 years on, this collection whisks us back to the world of our cinemagoing grandparents and great-grandparents, allowing us to see for ourselves some of the films they once watched and enjoyed during a night at the cinema in 1914.
The intrepid Lieutenant Pimple thwarts foreign enemies in an action-packed wartime spy spoof.
A well-acted early version of Charles Dickens' much loved Christmas story, featuring some impressive ghost sequences.
Belgian infantry and artillery defend Antwerp against the besieging German army in an early battle of World War I.
Cairo street scenes, the pyramids, the majestic Nile and a visiting Lord Kitchener in a gorgeous tinted travelogue.
Britannia rules the waves! Scenes of a battleship at gunnery practice, with fine shots of the guns firing.