This film is part of Free

The Tramp and the Baby's Bottle

It's a lovely day in the park, for romance and daylight robbery - but will this tramp make a clean getaway?

Comedy 1899 2 mins Silent


Charlie Chaplin claimed all he needed to make a film featuring his famous Tramp character was "a park, a policeman and a pretty girl". This short romp - made some 15 years before Chaplin's film debut - packs in all those elements, plus a baby and a dog, in a boisterous tale of romance, neglect, crime and punishment. When a copper distracts a nanny from her duties with a cheeky kiss, a tramp swipes the baby's bottle - prompting violent retribution from the officer of the law.

This single-shot film was made by the Yorkshire-based film pioneer James Bamforth. There is plenty of action in its brief running time, and the camera angle, at 45 degrees to the park bench, provides a deep stage for his actors to run around in. Prior to the invention of cinema, Bamforth's company had made narrative magic lantern slides. His films developed many of those scenes and specialised in comic skits.