This film is part of Free

Tennis; The Most Democratic of Games for Both Sexes

Anyone for tennis? Give your game the professional touch with the help of this enlightening 1920s instructional film.

1924 12 mins Silent


If you’re looking to perfect your backhand or tweak your serve then look no further than this enlightening and lighthearted instructional film from the 1920s. In this era tennis was all the rage in Britain and female champions such as Helen Wills, who appears towards the end of the film, were achieving international celebrity. This rare sporting equality is alluded to in the film’s title, but it’s still the male tennis experts who are shown doing most of the instructing.

The step-by-step approach and slow motion action help to convey the experts’ tips. The film is one in a series offering guidance on all kinds of sports from rowing to swimming and boxing, but producer the Stoll Film Company was better known for glossy feature films including The Hound of the Baskervilles (1921), and popular cinema series like Fu Manchu. It was the biggest studio in Britain in the 1920s. Helen Willis (nicknamed 'Little Miss Poker Face') went on to win eight Wimbledon titles and four French Open titles, and she also triumphed at the US Open seven times.