Film: 772

Feature Comedy | 1900 | Silent | B/W


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Collection of short, comic sketches, varying in condition. Very early, possibly even pre-1900.

1. Two women (probably men in drag) in bonnetts and shawls and holding umbrellas talk animatedly - they may be arguing. They are out of doors, trees and a wooden fence or gate can be seen behind them. Cut to the same women now standing on the other side of the gate. They continue their argument with much gesticulating. A man in a white shirt, braces and a flat cap creeps over and peers at the two women through a knothole in the wood. He is joined by another man who wears an apron. Each man pulls a section of each woman's dress under the bottom of the fence and nails it to the wood. The women notice the crouched men and begin to hit them with their umbrellas. The men scarper. Cut to the women on the outside of the fence. They leap and jump and wave their arms around. Eventually, a section of the wood breaks away and one woman runs in a circle with a plank of wood still attached to her skirt. [dark picture, scratched at the start, often difficult to make out what is happening].

2. Brief shot of the sea. Intertitle: 'Harry Mainstay Departs on a Voyage'.
Man in a sailor's outfit stands on a garden path, facing a woman and child. They both wear puffy white hats and dresses. Harry waves at another couple (his parents?) who also leave the house. He puts his arm around the first woman and leads her forward. The second woman cries into her apron. The second man doffs his hat. Harry, the woman and child walk away from the camera. (Good condition).

3. Yokel man sits in a field, resting against a wooden crate marked "Nestle Milk". On top of the crate is a large metal milk churn or can. A wheelbarrow can be seen at the man's feet. A man in a top hat sneaks over and begins to drink from the churn. He pauses and exaggeratedly rubs his stomach. The yokel turns and sees the thief and pushes the churn onto the thief's head. Milk is spilled all over the thief. Yokel and thief begin to wrestle. A goat runs past. Two men in flat caps run over. One of them brings the wheelbarrow nearer and then picks up a broom with which he hits the thief. The second man helps the yokel subdue the struggling thief. The men carry the thief and put him in the wheelbarrow. Some rope is produced and the thief is tied up. The thief continues to struggle. One man loses his cap. (Very scratched).

4. A smartly dressed couple sit on the edge of a water trough which has a pump connected to it. They begin to kiss. The man breaks away and turns to the camera. He sneezes and wipes his face. He turns back to the woman and they kiss again. A moustachioed man (the woman's husband) creeps over and hides behind the water pump so that he can see the wife and her lover, but they are unaware of his presence. The lover turns away and sneezes several times. The husband uses this opportunity to roughly fling the wife away and take her place alongside the lover. The husband smiles. The lover puts his arm around the husband's shoulder and gasps in horror when he realises his predicament. The two wrestle briefly. The husband puts the lover's head under the water spout and pumps water over him. (Few scratches but print seems quite bleached out).

5. Empty park bench. A well dressed woman with a tall hat wheels a very old permambulator or pram ( with wheels like a penny farthing). She stops and the bench, sits down and begins to read a newspaper. A policeman strolls past and out of the shot. The policeman doubles back, this time passing behind the bench. He leans over and kisses the woman on the cheek. He sits next to her with his arm around her shoulder. They stand and stroll off together. A dirty tramp or vagrant type emerges from the bushes and begins playing with and teasing the abandoned child. The tramp sees the nursemaid and policeman returning and begins to hurry away. The policeman chases him and they struggle briefly. The nanny tends to the child. A dog wanders into the shot and sits next to the nurse on the bench. (Quite scratched at the beginning).

6. Four well to do people sit on a park bench. One wears a bowler hat and reads a newspaper. The next is a severe woman wearing a hat and a stole. The next is a gentleman in a top hat who holds a cane. The last is a woman in a large bonnet and cloak who holds an umbrella. A vagrant or tramp trudges down the path alongside them. Over his shoulder is a stick with a cloth bundle tied to it. He is poorly dressed and has a very dirty face. He pauses at the bench, then sits next to the bonnet woman. He may blow cigarette smoke into her face. She stalks away disgustedly. The tramp moves up and does the same to the top hat man. The man adjusts his monacle and marhces off. The vagrant nestles up to the severe woman who also exits hastily. The tramp peers over the top of the final man's newspaper. He slams the paper down and walks away. The tramp takes the bundle off his stick and sits it down next to him. He uses the cloth package as a pillow. He sits up again and picks up a cigarrett (?) from the floor. He examines the newspaper. (Good condition).

7. White background. Man in tails waves a magic wand about. A second man in a macintosh approaches, carrying a top hat. The conjurer puts the top hat on the floor and waves a magic wand over the second man's head, while holding the second man's nose. The first man picks up the top hat and pours something out of it. The second man examines his hat and then puts it on his head and walks away. The conjurer bows. An old woman in a headscarf (could be a man in drag) rolls pastry at a small table, which also contains a mixing bowl. The top-hatted man in the mac enters and removes his hat. He puts the hat on the floor . The woman joins him at the front of the table. The man grabs her nose, trying to recreate the conjuring trick. He continues to tug at her nose. They fight. She beats him with a rolling pin. They knock the table over. They fight on the floor. (Good condition).

8. Duplicate of 4.

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