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?
Inventing Film Language
Comedy 1900 1 mins Silent
A peeping Tom gets a shocking glimpse of stocking in this early take on film voyeurism.
Comedy 1901 0 mins Silent
A country yokel gets a shock in an early example of a 'film within a film'.
Drama 1901 5 mins Silent
A dramatic rescue from a burning building by heroic firemen is one of our most important films
Comedy 1900 1 mins Silent
Harsh reality interrupts an older man's reverie of flirting with a pretty young woman
Undressing Extraordinary; Or, The Troubles of a Tired Traveller Undressing Extraordinary; Or, The Troubles of a Tired Traveller
Trick film 1901 2 mins Silent
Entertaining example of early 'special effects'
Trick film 1900 1 mins Silent
A boy examines things through his Grandmother’s magnifying glass, and early film takes a huge step forward.
Manchester's Welcome to the Imperial Yeomanry (1901) Manchester's Welcome to the Imperial Yeomanry (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 4 mins Silent Location: Manchester
A volunteer cavalry regiment is enthusiastically welcomed home after active service in South Africa.
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Liverpool
All ashore! Passengers disembark and crew offload after a long Atlantic crossing.
Spectators Promenading in Weston Park, Sheffield (1902) Spectators Promenading in Weston Park, Sheffield (1902)
Non-Fiction 1902 3 mins Silent Location: Weston Park
A stroll in the park for civilised city-dwellers in Edwardian South Yorkshire.
Non-Fiction 1924 1 mins Silent Location: Woking
The UK's first purpose-built mosque welcomes a huge crowd of worshippers - and newsreel cameras!
Comedy 1914 9 mins Silent
A vicar is caught flirting with an improperly-dressed chorus girl in this saucy silent comedy.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.