Title ID 8391Collection ID1188
TitleDear Boys Come Home for the Holidays
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Family life
KeywordsChildren Interiors Holidays Clothing Schools Family
RegionalBrighton and Hove
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionJames Williamson
DirectorJames Williamson
CastJames Williamson (father)
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Two boys cause havoc in their family home in this 1904 comedy by James Williamson.


Two young boys enter a house from a carriage on the street outside, running and laughing. A maid carries a suitcase into the house while the boys run into another room. Two women and a man sit at a table together. One of the boys dances around wearing the man's top hat and he chases them both out of the door. A boy sneaks in, stashing flour in the top hat that sits on the dresser. As the women and guest finish their tea the excitable boys enter undetected and tie a corner of the tablecloth to the man's coat-tails while his back is turned. He walks forwards, taking the tablecloth, cups and saucers with him. The man chases the boys around the room, with table cloth still attached to his jacket. He shakes the women's hands and leaves in a hurry, tipping the flour the boys had sneaked into his hat over his head.

The boys are then seen at a table with a baby in a high chair. When the maid leaves, the boys quickly draw a dark moustache, beard and eyebrows on the child's face. The boys laugh with one another before the maid scolds them and comforts the baby. A close-up of the crying child follows.

The boys are then seen on the stairs with a white rabbit. They are seen to replace some food under a cover with the rabbit while the butler seduces the maid. Upon his return, the Butler takes the platter into a room. The boys peer round the open door before running upstairs. Their father enters the hall holding the rabbit by its ears. He takes the boys off, the butler behind waving the cane their father will scold them with. The boys are seen post-caning, sobbing into hankies and limping in pain before they break into laughter, pulling cardboard out from the back of their trousers.

Related resources


Sopocy, Martin. James Williamson: Studies and Documents of a Pioneer of the Film Narrative n.p. Madison/Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Date: 1998

Barnes, John. The Beginnings of the Cinema in England 1894-1901. Five Volumes, n.p. University of Exeter Press

Date: 1996-1998 All five volumes of John Barnes’s archaeological study of early cinema charts its development between 1894 and 1901. Barnes founded the Barnes Museum of Cinematography with his brother William in the 1960s. The collection provided primary material for Barnes’s study of early cinema.

Low, Rachael. The History of the British Film 1896-1906 n.p. George Allen & Unwin

Date: 1949

McKernan, Luke. “The Brighton School and the Quest for Natural Colour” in Simon Popple and Vanessa Toulmin (eds.) Visual Delights – two: Exhibition and Reception. n.p. Eastleigh: John Libbey

Date: 2005

Gray, Frank (ed.) Hove Pioneers and the Arrival of Cinema. n.p. University of Brighton

Date: 1996 Published on the occasion of the 1995 University of Brighton exhibition concerning the work of George Albert Smith and James Williamson. Essays included are by John Barnes, Ine van Dooren, Frank Gray and Martin Sopocy.

Gray, Frank. “James Williamson's 'Composed Picture': Attack on a China Mission - Bluejackets to the Rescue” in Fullerton, John (ed.) Celebrating 1895. n.p. Sydney: John Libbey & Co.

Date: 1998


The Barnes Collection

Location: Hove Museum and Art Gallery Twins John and William Barnes founded the Barnes Museum of Cinematography in the 1960s. After the closure, the early part of the collection moved to Hove. The collection includes cameras, projectors and material relating to the Brighton School of film pioneers.


Location: BFI National Archive, British Film Institute, London Holds many films made by George Albert Smith between 1897 and 1905.

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

NFTVA copies kept on file SASE 950000.


Screenonline: James Williamson

British Film Institute site containing biographical information and film synopses.

Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: James Williamson

Biographical overview and further reading.