Sunday, February 10, 2013

Silent Screen Sunday - Rescued By Rover (1905)

This British short film was the first ever motion picture to star a dog.

Rover is played by director Cecil Hepworth’s pet in real life, Blair. Blair, a Rough Collie or English Shepherd, must rush to his humans for help when he becomes the only member of the family to know where their kidnapped baby is being kept hidden. The bulk of the film comprises scenes of the dog racing down roads and under, over, or through any number of natural and manmade obstacles to find the baby, report back to his people, then bring the anxious father (also Hepworth) for assistance.

The short was such a massive hit in the UK in 1905, and film was so delicate, it had to be remade multiple times to meet demand. After going largely unseen for nearly 100 years, Rescued By Rover was released in a fantastic DVD boxed set in 2002 by Kino Video: The Movies Begin: A Treasury of Early Cinema, 1894-1913. Watch closely and you’ll catch more dogs beyond Rover in these early flickers.

Produced by Hepworth

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