Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bobby the Boy Scout; Or, the Boy Detective

GB 1909. PC: Clarendon Film Company. D: Percy Stow; orig. l: 525 ft.; 502 ft., 502 ft /16 fps/ 9 min; print: BFINA. Deutsche Zwischentitel. E-subtitles in English and Italian. Grand piano: John Sweeney. Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, 4 Oct 2009.

From the GCM Catalogue: "Never underestimate the ingenuity of the average Boy Scout, especially when compared to the British police force. With the popularity of detective films at an early high, Percy Stow concocted this delightful film which takes advantage of his penchant for comic situations and even includes a rather superfluous trick shot, along with a nice keyhole cut-out.
Stow (1876-1919) was working with Cecil Hepworth in 1901 but joined Hepworth’s former business partner Henry Lawley to form the Clarendon Film Company in 1904. While The Tempest (1908) is perhaps his best-known film today, his output in these years tended less in the direction of literary adaptations and more towards comical titles such as the present film, whose pleasant outdoor locations speak to Stow’s Hepworth origins. In 1910 he introduced the “Lieutenant Rose” series, sometimes credited as Britain’s first serial and featuring a naval captain whose adventurous exploits certainly lean towards the detective genre; the series went on for 17 episodes and lasted until 1915. – Jay Weissberg"  -

A low-contrast print. The policemen throw the little boy scout out of the crime scene, but he tracks down the criminals, captures them with a clever ruse, brings back the stolen jewels, helps clear the innocent suspect, and brings the policement to the real villains, after they have had to stumble in mud.

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