This film is part of Free

Sea Cave near Lisbon

Breath-taking view of waves breaking at the mouth of the Boca do Inferno.

1896 Silent


This view of the waves breaking at the mouth of the Boca do Inferno is breathtakingly beautiful – especially when seen, as here, with its original aquatic tint restored. Henry Short was the chap behind the camera - a new portable model produced and supplied to him by British film pioneer RW Paul. Short filmed a whole series of scenes of Spain and Portugal which Paul released as a fourteen-part series.

‘Rough sea’ scenes were a top-draw category unto themselves in early filmmaking. This is one of the best – the setting of a cave both adding a genre twist and acting as an artistic framing device. Acclaimed at the time, and still attractive today, the film exemplifies an appealing double offer made by early cinema to its audiences: the sensation of movement combined with vicarious travel to exotic places. Victorian Virtual Reality?