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.
Animation & Artists Moving Image19147 mins
Mixing lightning sketches with animation, this propaganda cartoon comes to life in defence of the British fighting force of 1914.
Ear-to-ear grins prove that an army marches on its stomach in this poignant film of young WWI reservists at a field kitchen far from home.
Non-Fiction19141 mins Location: Hastings
Legendary theatrical actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree steps back in time as guest of honour at a historical pageant in East Sussex.
Romance191434 mins Location: Cefn Ydfa
Lovingly rendered version of a traditional Welsh folk tale of thwarted romance, set in 17th-century Cefn Ydfa.
British submarine inspection at Spithead just before the start of World War I. This was issued in December after a sub sunk a ship in the Dardanelles action of 1914.
A comedy clot takes up phrenology and tries to find his ideal partner by feeling the bumps on women's heads, only to end up as a cannibal's dinner.
Boxing stars Georges Carpentier and 'Gunboat' Smith pull the crowds ahead of their title bout for the World White Heavyweight Championship.
Non-Fiction19141 mins Location: Aldershot
Private Daly of the Connaught Rangers triumphs in the Aldershot Command annual cross country race, months before the outbreak of WWI.
Variety show19143 mins
Early Vivaphone film capturing a jolly music hall routine about a maharajah's visit to London, made to be screened with a synchronised sound disc.
Silent British star Alma Taylor finds love in this dramatic short, which packs forgery, blackmail and romance into its 15-minute running time.
Non-Fiction19141 mins Location: Belfast
Sir Edward Carson speeds through an inspection of members of the Ulster Volunteer Force before hot-footing it to London for urgent talks on the Home Rule crisis.
School programme and Educational film193011 mins
In Flanders fields - this educational compilation of WWI footage tries to teach the most important lesson of all: never again
Non-Fiction19147 mins Location: Shrewsbury
A sneak peek at the shires of Shrewsbury on display for the King’s visit to the county fair
Ritchie, The World's light-weight Boxing Champion, Training for His Fight with Freddy Welsh at Olympia.
Non-Fiction19141 mins Location: Westminster
Soon to be ex-champion Willie Ritchie prepares for his title bout with Freddie Walsh.