This film is part of Free

Fun on the Clothesline

A deft music hall act adapted for film, featuring the only known appearance of pioneer filmmaker Robert Paul

Comedy 1896 1 mins Silent


Two men get tangled up in a housewife’s washing line in this entertaining early film, which recreates a stage 'slack wire' act. It was one of a number of music hall acts adapted for fim by film pioneer RW Paul, and features Harry Lamore, who had developed the act on stage. The man chasing, in top hat and tails, is Robert Paul himself, in what is his only known screen appearance, while the housewife is played by Paul's wife, Ellen.

A nitrate 35mm print that had never been duplicated from the BFI’s collection, listed with a 'given' title, 'Gypsy Camp Drama', turned out to be a lost film by Britain's pre-eminent early filmmaker R.W. Paul. slack-wire played this comic sketch on the music.