Film: 2193

Social History | 1910 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

A gently amusing send-up of an anti-suffragist and his disapproval of the Suffragettes fight for Votes for Women 1910's

Interior of the dining room of an affluent family; the gentleman and his wife are sitting at the dining table; he is probably in his fifties or sixties, with white hair, beard and moustache; he is wearing a suit, white shirt with winged collar and hand-tied spotted bow-tie; he is using a monocle, which hangs on a cord around his neck, to read the Times newspaper; his wife is dressed in a dark, high-necked top, with a light-coloured shawl and a small fur hat; she is probably in her forties; the dark room is wood-panelled; the dining table is laid, probably for breakfast, with a white table-cloth, silver tea-pot and wine-cooler (with bottle of wine or champagne inside), silver jug and sugar-pot, silver covered dishes, china and glassware; the wife pours a cup of tea and offers it to her husband; he is absorbed in reading the newspaper and irritatedly gestures to her to put the cup down on the table, which she obediently does. Continuing to read the paper, and taking no notice of his wife, he pulls the cup of tea towards him and sips hurriedly, as his wife pours herself a cup; when he tastes the tea, which is apparently not to his liking, he winces and his monocle falls from his eye; he puts the monocle back in his eye in order to peer into the tea cup, which he pushes away in disgust; he starts shouting and thumps the table so hard that the maid, who has just entered the room, drops the tray she is carrying (together with the things on it); the maid is dressed in a dark uniform with a white apron, white collar and white hat; she is probably in her twenties; she is at first surprised and then amused by what has happened, but the man is furious with her; he angrily settles down to read his paper again, while the wife indicates to the maid that she should clear up the mess, which she does; the wife starts to drink a cup of tea in silence whilst her husband reads; she and the maid are taken aback as the husband, amazed by something he has read in the paper, exclaims, puts back his monocle (which fell out in his shock) and reads aloud. Titles: 'Windows smashed; MP assaulted; Chain Themselves to the Palings'. The man is now very agitated; he slaps the paper; he slaps his leg; he holds the paper, crumpled up, in one hand and waves it about angrily over the table, shouting and gesturing at the two women; the women try to talk to him; the wife seems taken aback by her husband's behaviour but the maid is amused and laughs openly; the man drops the newspaper, raises his arms above his head in a gesture of anger and frustration and leaves the table; the young maid is still laughing, when the wife stands up and gives her a lecture, presumably on the inappropriateness of her behaviour, and points to the door, indicating that the maid should leave the room, which she does (still laughing to herself); the wife is left standing alone by the breakfast table, where the crumpled newspaper is lying; she looks concerned as she walks out in the direction her husband went.

The husband is standing at the bottom of a wooden staircase (with a central stair carpet); he is wearing the same clothes as in the last scene and he has a large white napkin hanging down from where it is tucked into his waistcoat; he is still angry, gesticulating with his arms; he takes his cane and bowler from an (unseen) hat stand; he puts on the hat and is about to stomp off out, still wearing the napkin and with a pair of gloves inadvertently tucked into the rim of his hat, when his wife appears and calls him back; he turns around and she lovingly removes the serviette, hands him his monocle (which has swung round, on its neck-cord, over his shoulder) and points up at his hat, quietly amused; he looks up at the ceiling in the direction in which she has pointed; she points again and he, finally understanding, takes off his hat and removes the gloves, irritatedly; he puts the hat back on, points with his cane, and hurries off, as his wife calls goodbye and waves after him.

He leaves the elegant house, hurrying down the stone front steps (which lead down between two large columns which frame the entrance) and walks along the pavement, beside iron railings.

The scene is now a park, with trees and very wide walkways; two young boys (dressed in caps, and jackets and with large white collars) stand, with their backs to the camera, at the front of the picture; beyond a young woman and a girl, both with large hats, walk backwards with a pram, and a young child by their side; this group is looking towards the camera and it looks very much as if they are trying to get out of camera shot (they disappear behind a tree); meanwhile, a very well-dressed woman, of about thirty or forty, is walking towards the camera; she is wearing a long dark dress, with a black lace shawl, a high white collar, and a light-coloured hat; she is carrying several posters, one of which (partially obscured) reads '. . . For women'; she goes up to the tree next to where the two boys are standing; they watch her as she takes a poster, then takes pins (which have been pinned on to her dress in preparation) and pins the poster to the tree; the poster read 'Votes . . Women'; as she turns and leaves, the park beyond is getting busier, with walkers and dogs; the two boys then go close up to the poster on the tree, look round to check the woman has gone, and both reach up and un-pin the poster; the older boy takes the poster and looks at it, then hides it behind his back as the two boys realise that someone is approaching; it turns out to be the gentleman from the opening scene, still wearing his bowler hat and carrying his cane; he stops to speak to the younger boy and, as he bends over to do so, the older boy goes behind him and pins the poster to his back, clearly visible as 'VOTES . . . WOMEN'; the man does not notice because all his attention is concentrated on trying to hear what the younger boy is saying; the boy seems to be whispering and the man has to ask him repeatedly to repeat himself; eventually the man has had enough and pushes the young boy out of his way and stalks off, leaving the two boys doubling up with laughter as they watch him walk across the park.

The maid from the first scene, dressed up in a long skirt, jacket and hat, comes up from the basement exit of the house, leaves through the front gate and walks down the pavement, beside the railings; she is carrying something (probably a letter).

Titles: 'Is this a suffrage assault?'. Several men are coming out of the entrance door of a brick building; behind them (in the entrance hallway) is a large classical white statue of a woman; on a board on the outside wall, next to the doorway, is a poster which reads 'ANTI-SUFFRAGE' and 'GERALD BALL'; the men coming out of the door look very well-to-do, dressed in top hats, frock coats and waist coats, carrying umbrellas; they are of mixed ages; they are talking animatedly to one another, presumably having just been inspired by the anti-suffrage meeting; as they emerge, the gentleman from the first scene (still wearing the same clothes and in his bowler hat) walks into their midst; he notices the poster advertising the anti-suffrage rally; the anti-suffragists, observing that this man is wearing a pro-suffrage poster, start berating him, pointing and wagging their fingers at him; the gentleman gets irate and waves his fist at them; they then man-handle him out of shot.

A shot of the front of a newspaper shop, with three free-standing advertising boards propped up against the shop front; one, for the Sunday Times, reads 'Reynolds's - A Woman's Screams - Amazing - London'; another, headed Daily Graphic but in fact advertising the Daily Mail (on the Daily Grahic's board), reads 'Labour MPS' Income'; the third, for the Daily Telegraph, reads 'Mr Bonar Law - Mr Churchill - Scathing Reply'; several newspapers are folded in hanging racks on the outside of the shop window; inside the shop window are various products; the gentleman, still in his bowler hat, rushes into the picture, stands and turns, in front of the newsagents, to face his pursuers; he rolls up his sleeves and brandishes his cane as the anti-suffrage men run in; there is a lot of shouting, jostling, brandishing of cane and umbrellas; one of the men raises his umbrella high to go to strike the gentleman in the bowler, but the gentleman starts gesticulating wildly with his cane and the men all duck; the cane, unintentionally, smashes the shop window and the gentleman, realising what he has done, drops the cane and runs off; the shopkeeper (wearing a bow-tie) comes out to look at the damage and two policemen arrive on the scene; they all point the police in the direction the gentleman has gone, and everyone goes in pursuit, leaving the shopkeeper angrily shaking his fist after them.

The shot is of a wide pavement, with tall railings and a classical style building in the background; the gentleman in the bowler hat comes running down the pavement, looking worriedly behind him. Close up of the bottom outside corner of a stone building, with pavement and large stone bollards beyond, and people walking, with someone sitting high up on a carriage with huge wheels, and the top of a passing double decker bus visible in the background; the man in the bowler hat runs along the pavement and down the stone steps around the corner of the stone building. Shot of one of the vast lion statues in Trafalgar Square, with a boy and a policeman in the foreground, and façade of classical style buildings (possibly the National Gallery) in the background; the man in the bowler hat rushes in and out of the shot.

Titles: 'Chained to the Palings!' Shot of a park, with a wide walkway with railings; people are walking along, including a woman in a hat pushing a pram, as the man in the bowler hat runs along, followed by the two policemen and the group of anti-suffrage men; the man is exhausted and holds on to and leans over the railings to recover his breath. Close up of the man's chest, showing that (presumably) his watch chain, which hangs across his chest, has caught on the top of the railings. The two policemen approach him from behind and, taking his arms behind him, try to pull him away from the railings but, realising he is chained to them, one of the anti-suffrage men unhooks him. The police, holding him firmly as he struggles, escort him away.

Titles: 'He is one of us. To the rescue!'. Rather empty street scene, with large stone building in the background, with an archway over the road; as the two policemen attempt to keep hold of the struggling man, a large crowd of suffragettes rushes over to rescue him; the women are waving papers and flags over their heads; they are all wearing hats; they appear to be a socially diverse group (some dressed well and some dressed quite poorly); some wear banners across their chests; the women all surround the policemen and, with a lot of jostling, manage to pull away the man in the bowler hat; leaving the anti-suffrage men, who had arrived on the scene, looking dazed and confused; the man's maid (from the first scene) is in the crowd of women and, when she sees who the man is, she looks horrified and runs in the opposite direction.

The crowd of women is now in a nearby street, with large stone buildings, and the dome of a church (?) in the background; the suffragette who originally pinned the poster to the tree in the park now unfurls a poster 'Votes for Women' and shows it to the protesting and bedraggled man in the bowler hat; he raises his fists above his head in fury and frustration; one of the women (whose hat is covered with a floating piece of lace and who is wearing a banner across her chest reading 'Votes for Women') removes the poster from the man's back and shows it to him; he is horrified, protests vigorously and runs off, leaving the women looking after him, hands outstretched towards him.

Back in the man's house, the maid (still dressed up and holding a rolled-up poster) rushes into the dining room, laughing; the man's wife is standing in the room; she is very elegantly dressed in a dark dress with long black lace sleeves and a deep black lace frill around the top and is wearing a hat; the maid laughingly recounts how the husband was rescued from the anti-suffragists; the wife is not amused and sends her out of the room; before she goes, the maid puts the poster she was carrying under a glass soda stream on the sideboard; seeing she has not yet left the room, the wife takes her by the ear and frogmarches her out of the room; the wife shuts the door behind the maid and crosses the room (going out of shot) in the opposite direction; through a corner of a window in the room, the man can be seen returning home; the maid then appears outside the window, as the man enters the dining room, looking totally dishevelled; he notices the maid outside the window and she runs away, only to reappear outside when his back is turned; the man goes to the sideboard and pours himself a drink; as he does so, he knocks the poster, which unfurls and hangs down the sideboard; the poster reads 'Votes for Women'; the man stands dumb-struck, with decanter in one hand and glass in the other; his wife enters, sees the state he is in, looks at the poster and the decanter he is holding and concludes that he has taken to drink; she takes the glass off him in disgust, as he looks heavenward and falters on his feet, completely defeated. Titles: 'The End'.


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