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The Unclean World

What's that crawling around in the cheese? Surprises abound in this spoof nature film.

Comedy 1903 2 mins Silent


This early film spoof parodies Charles Urban's The Unseen World (1903), a nature series which, in one memorable edition, showed a gentleman scrutinising his own lunch to find (real) mites wriggling in the Stilton. Percy Stow's version replaces mites with beetles, and there's a further twist in the tale: is this early science fiction or a comedic reflection of the fantasy creatures of pantomime?

Billing itself as a serious scientific series, The Unseen World revealed 'Nature's Closest Secrets' by placing exotic creatures (volvox globator and water fleas as well as cheesemites) under the microscope. The cheesemites film caused quite a stir when shown in London's Leicester Square in 1903 - its popularity is reflected in this spoof version.