This film is part of Free

Stop Thief!

After him! A tramp stealing meat kicks off one of the very first film chases

Comedy 1901 2 mins Silent


Chases were a comic staple of silent film comedy, but here is one of the very first. It might have a simple plot - hungry tramp opportunistically steals a joint of meat then takes flight, with the butcher and dogs in pursuit - but it's clear three-shot structure is a sign of the increasingly complex storytelling that was evolving by the end of the Victorian era.

Hove-based James Williamson, a former chemist, was one of the most restless of the early filmmakers. He was particularly preoccupied with exploring and expanding the potential of the new medium, as he showed, in quite different ways, in the likes of The Big Swallow and Fire! (both 1901) and The Soldier's Return (1902).