Title ID 8394Collection ID1188
TitleAn Interesting Story
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Urban Life
KeywordsMen Interiors Steam Locomotives Houses Everyday Life
RegionalBrighton and Hove
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionJames Williamson
DirectorJames Williamson
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A distracted man with his 'head in a book' pours coffee in his hat and injures his staff before he is flattened by a steam roller in this 1905 comedy by James Williamson.


A man reads aloud at a table in front of a fireplace. A maid interrupts his story to hand him his bowler hat, gesturing towards the clock behind. He brushes her off and continues to read animatedly. Appearing to act out the story, he stabs the bread with the bread knife. Distracted, he pours coffee and milk into his hat. Looking at the clock he hurriedly throws the coffee out of his hat and places it on his head. Outside he falls over a woman washing the steps, knocking over the bucket of water and hurting her elbow. He carries on regardless, still reading the book. Engrossed, he walks into a skipping rope some children are playing with, cursing at them as they run back towards the house. He tips his hat to a donkey without looking up from the book and gets in the way of another man, who crossly pushes him to one side. As he continues to read, a steamroller trundles towards him. Failing to move out of the way, the man is flattened by the roller. Two men on bicycles re-inflate him with their pumps and help him to stand, handing him his book and hat. The men laugh as he walks on, still reading the story.

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.