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The Rollicking Rajah
The Rollicking Rajah

The Rollicking Rajah 1914


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The Rollicking Rajah 1914

3 mins United Kingdom

This jolly music hall routine about an Indian maharajah visiting London, where he is entertained by a bevy of English roses, would have been shown with a synchronised sound disc. Once thought lost, the original recording has now been sourced, digitised and matched to the film for this presentation. Indian characters played by white actors in makeup appear outdated today, but in the 1910s reflected public fascination with eastern exoticism.

British film pioneer Cecil Hepworth's own-brand Vivaphone system used 10-inch discs to synchronise sound with film. They were made in great numbers and were modestly successful, but were only as good as the recordings and amplification equipment of the day. They now provide a very rare record of variety performances of the day. The ‘singer’ in the film is Harry Buss and the singer on the disc is Harry Fay.

The film's original recording was supplied to the BFI by Alex Gleason with thanks to Glenn Mitchell.

This synchronised Vivaphone film has been supported by The Adam S Rubinson Charitable Fund.


Variety show


Maharajas Variety


WTF - A Box of Odd 1914 on Film




United Kingdom



Production company

Hepworth Manufacturing Company

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