This film is part of Free
The Big Swallow
A classic early film gag - and a big leap forward for a fast-evolving new art
Comedy 1901 1 mins Silent
One of the most famous of all early films, James Williamson's The Big Swallow is the first to play with the internal logic of the film form itself. "I won't, I won't! I'll eat the camera first," declares the irate gentleman, annoyed by an intrusive photographer and, good as his word, he proceeds towards the camera - and us, the audience - until his mouth, in huge close up, opens and swallows the camera, photographer and all. But as the camera and its operator disappear into the dark, we are left wondering: who is still filming the man as he licks his lips?
Films For Fives and Under
Fantasy 1903 10 mins Silent
The first-ever film version of Lewis Carroll's tale, made just 37 years after the novel’s publication and eight years after the birth of cinema.
Nature and Science programme 1954 14 mins Silent Location: Headingley
The metamorphosis of the eating machine which is the caterpillar, into an Emperor Moth, revealed in all its detail and presented in 15 minutes.
Advert 1935 4 mins
Part experimental cinema, part advert for the parcel post service, always joyful.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1961 2 mins
Fall truly, madly, deeply in love with this animated proto-music video from Godfrey, Lacey and Newly
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1910 3 mins Silent
A pioneering effort in bringing shadow puppetry to the cinema
Comedy 1897 1 mins Silent
I've got you under my skin... early 'trick' film having fun with the new science of x-ray photography
Travelogue 1907 9 mins Silent
A grand tour of Japan’s major cities, offering scenic views of the streets and daily life.
Interest film 1913 3 mins Silent
This ethnographic film offers a brief overview of the traditional culture of the Ainu, an ethnic minority in Japan.
Documentary 1905 4 mins
The performance of a masked dancer is followed by a scene from a kendo match, contrasting grace and ferocity.
Non-Fiction 1904 2 mins Silent
In a school gymnastic festival, boys and girls demonstrate their physical rigour through exercise and dance.
Interest film 1909 5 mins Silent
A vibrant festival with parades of fishermen and geisha celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port.
1912 5 mins Silent
Pathécolor’s mechanical stencil colouring is put to good use illustrating a festival at an ancient shrine.