Historical re-enactions, comic sketches and a groundbreaking 'true crime' film...
Before the great 1990s Mitchell and Kenyon rediscovery, we thought we knew all we ever would about what historian Rachael Low described as a "small but hardy" company producing "all the types of film usual at the time", plus some "faked topicals of the South African War filmed on the outskirts of Blackburn". The company, said Low, made a "solid contribution", but had no influence on cinematic technique. Today, we know more, thanks to the few fiction productions in this collection, and another 80 or so titles held at the Cinema Museum and elsewhere. Many of these films recreate events during the 1900 Boxer rebellion and the Boer War, and sit somewhere between fiction and dramatised actuality. Other productions are more clearly fiction - mostly short comedies and dramatic sketches. The earliest are relatively basic, with minimal sets and costumes, and often amateur actors. Later films are more sophisticated, with a robust disrespect for authority typical of their time. Digitisation of this collection was funded by The National Lottery.
The only two surviving scenes from an amazing Edwardian film about the work of Britain's coalminers.