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Fiction

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.

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Arrest of Goudie (1901)Arrest of Goudie (1901)

Crime19016 minsSilent Location: Berry St, Liverpool

Crimewatch Mitchell and Kenyon style, in the first ever film to recreate a true crime.

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Black Diamonds - the Collier's Daily Life (1904)Black Diamonds - the Collier's Daily Life (1904)

Non-Fiction19043 minsSilent

The only two surviving scenes from an amazing Edwardian film about the work of Britain's coalminers.

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Morning Wash (c.1900)Morning Wash (c.1900)

Comedy19002 minsSilent

An old joke but a merry one.

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Snowballs (1901)Snowballs (1901)

Comedy19012 minsSilent Location: Glasgow

Young scamps launch a snowball attack on a hapless bobby.

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Lizars, Edinburgh (1904)Lizars, Edinburgh (1904)

Drama19042 minsSilent Location: Edinburgh

An Edwardian comedian is captured on camera - but who is he?

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Mr Moon (1901)Mr Moon (1901)

Comedy19013 minsSilent

Rare production footage of an early 'trick' film with a famous music hall performer.

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Sporting Colliers and the Bobby (c.1901)Sporting Colliers and the Bobby (c.1901)

Comedy19012 minsSilent

A policeman breaks up a gambling den, but is caught pocketing the proceeds.

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Mitchell and Kenyon Fiction OffcutsMitchell and Kenyon Fiction Offcuts

Drama1902 minsSilent

Two tantalising fragments of Mitchell and Kenyon's fiction films - but what do they tell us?

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Unfaithful Wife (c.1900)Unfaithful Wife (c.1900)

Drama19001 minsSilent

A faithless wife, with a penchant for men in uniform, entertains a sailor before her policeman husband comes home.

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Beheading a Chinese BoxerBeheading a Chinese Boxer

War19001 minsSilent

A grisly early fictional reconstruction inspired by atrocity stories from China's Boxer Rebellion.