This film is part of Free


A simple special effect enlivens an early crime film

Crime 1896 1 mins Silent


The backdrop of this short fiction - one of the earliest British crime films - represents Ludgate Circus, with its obelisk and flashing electric advertising hoardings. The effect is produced by punching holes on the backlit backdrop and moving a dark card to block out the lights as the action takes place in the foreground. This clever device was adopted from magic lantern slides.

This film has traditionally been attributed to Robert Paul as it was acquired by the BFI National Archive alongside other films by the company, but no documentary evidence has yet been found to support this.