This film is part of Free

Bertie's Cave

A bedtime story for insects by a legend of natural history filmmaking

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1925 11 mins Silent


If you are sitting comfortably then Archie the Ant will begin his bedtime story, although sadly Archie’s creator left it unfinished. Frank Percy Smith was a true pioneer of natural history filmmaking and a real lover of insects. “Marking time”, as he later put it, between working on educational films he spent two years making this “Bedtime Stories of Archie the Ant” series, which was seemingly never released.

The film is left as it was when Smith abandoned work on it. It’s out of sequence, and has repeat alternate takes giving an insight into his working methods. The intertitles are bunched at the end, offering a tantalising glimpse of where the story was going.