This film is part of Free

A Skirmish with the Boers near Kimberley

A Boer War re-enactment with a ring of authenticity

Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent


This very dramatic scene appears to come from the heart of the Boer War action, but on closer inspection it is clear that Joe Rosenthal staged this scene in South Africa with the help of a co-operative group of cavalry. Staged skirmishes like this were common at the time, with the bulky camera preventing more intimate acquaintance with the fighting.

British audiences saw a range of fakes - from fights staged on home soil, to more complex fabrications such as this - however, what is clear is that in the moment of exhibition itself what aroused the excitement of the audience was not the veracity of the film, but plain patriotic fervour. The Poly Concerts are an interesting test case in this regard, as audiences saw a wide range of Boer war films, and booed, sneered and cheered according to what was on screen, and not according to the manner in which the image was created.