This film is part of Free
Victorian Music hall star Lil Hawthorne sings the popular 'Kitty Mahone' in this earliest surviving 'sound film'
Walter Gibbons was one of Britain's most forward-thinking film entrepreneurs, and deeply entranced by the music hall. In 1900 he launched his 'phono bio tableaux', which synchronised songs recorded by famous music stars on disc with a film of the performance. Sadly, all but one of the films are lost, making this last survivor a unique record of a major Victorian music hall star in sound and vision, as well as the oldest British 'sound film' - nearly 30 years before the 'talkies' arrived here.
Lil Hawthorne, who performs this song, was a well-known American singer, often adopting a male persona, although she was not strictly a male impersonator. It was her concerns about the disappearance of a friend that alerted the police to the crime of the notorious murderer Dr Crippen.