History Magazine

Edwardian Lassie

By Carolineld @carolineld
If you enjoyed Lassie, then Rescued by Rover is the silent film for you! The title does rather give away the plot, but there's plenty to enjoy even without a great element of surprise. I particularly liked the distraught father's insistence upon donning a top hat before rushing out of the house, and the happy ending for all concerned - including the 'villain'. 

Cecil Hepworth, director, was born in Beaufort Gardens, Lewisham. The son of a magic lanternist, he developed a film career and established studios in in Walton-on-Thames. While they churned out several films a week, this one was probably the first to include paid actors and was among Hepworth Studios' greatest successes. It even had to be re-shot twice as the original negatives wore out. 
Hepworth's wife Margaret both wrote it and starred as the mother, while Hepworth played the father. Even the baby was their daughter Barbara. After all, why pay half a guinea to an actor when you could appear yourself? As for the real star of the film, Blair the dog, he was the family pet! 

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