This Film Is 100 Years Old

John Bull’s Animated Sketchbooks (1915-1916) / A Prize Fight or Glove Fight between John Bull and President Kruger (1900)

John Bull’s Animated Sketchbook was an ongoing series of animated satire/propaganda from 1915 and 1916, in which postcard illustrator and political cartoonist Dudley Buxton utilised the “lightning sketch” technique (time lapse footage of him drawing his pictures) to deliver political commentary in the manner and quality of Brant.

Most of the sketches here are, unsurprisingly, wartime propaganda (“The British wage ware like this, but the Germans wage war like this!“), but there’s still time for one about Charlie Chaplin choking on a fly in his pint too for some reason.

(Pint not included in screenshot)



1. There were four of these and I watched them all on the BFI website (1, 2, 3, 4).

2. I came across these today because I searched the BFI free site for Charlie Chaplin and this was all that came up.

3. Although the first three of these episodes all appear to be animated by Dudley Buxton, the last one is illustrated by Anson Dyer.

4. Whose work I seemed to be surprisingly furious about in 2019.

5. Poor angry young me.

6. (He is shite though)

7. I mean, obviously most of the political satire is going to fall flat a century later, but if political commentary cartoons are the most “of their time” art form possible, they’re also consistently the worst too. And seemingly always have been/will be.

8. And while we’re on the topic of John Bull, “A Prize Fight or Glove Fight between John Bull and President Kruger” is a two-minute political sketch about the Boer War from 1900.

9. In which Britain and South Africa have a fist fight (and of course only Britain fights fairly).

10. No other way they could ever lose.


Film Information: John Bull’s Animated Sketchbooks
Director: Dudley Buxton
Year: 1915-1916
Duration: 2 minutes to 10 minutes
Watch: Various episodes on the BFI Player: 1, 2, 3, 4

Film Information: A Prize Fight or Glove Fight between John Bull and President Kruger
Director: John Sloane Barnes
Year: 1900
Duration: 2 minutes
Watch: BFI Player

This Film Is More Than 100 Years Old

The Floorwalker (1916)

The Floorwalker is a 30 minute comedy directed by (and written by, starring, etc) Charlie Chaplin, who plays his usual hapless self as he gets caught up in a plan by two corrupt store managers to steal all the shop’s money from a safe for some reason.

This is the earliest Charlie Chaplin film I’ve seen, I think. It’s pretty good fun, although it ends so abruptly I thought maybe the final few scenes were missing (but apparently they aren’t, so who knows what was going on there).

It also includes what is apparently the first ever “running the wrong way on an escalator” gag, which they make pretty extensive – and fairly wonderful – usage of, and then goes on to pioneer the “not actually a mirror gag” in a sequence where Charlie Chaplin and one of the nefarious managers look so alike they both think they’re looking at their own reflections (the basis of jokes in what feels like 90% of Bugs Bunny cartoons, at least, plus probably hundreds of other things down the years).



1. I watched this on blu-ray (this wonderful BFI set).

2. But there’s loads of versions of it on youtube if you want too.

3. Although I can’t vouch for the quality of either the image or the soundtrack on there.

4. This was Charlie Chaplin’s first film for Mutual.

5. Where he was paid $10,000 a week for a year to make 12 films.

6. Which he then did.

7. Although he took 18 months to finish them, the lazy bugger.

8. Before then moving on elsewhere to make even more films that aren’t on this blu-ray.


Film Information

Title: The Floorwalker
Year: 1916
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Duration: 30 minutes
Watch: youtube

This Film Is More Than 100 Years Old

The Kuleshov Effect (1918)

The Kuleshov Effect is the process by which we derive meanings from shots not just from the shots themselves, but by their relationship to the previous and subsequent shots in the sequence, first demonstrated by the Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in the 1910s.

Editing together different sequences showing the actor Ivan Mosjoukine reacting to various scenes, Kuleshov noted how audiences ascribed different emtions to the actor’s expressions despiet the fact that in each case the exact same footage was used.

Which is both obvious to us now (100 years later) and also still endlessly interesting (or at least I think so).



1. I watched two versions of this on youtube (1, 2)

2. And although both claim to be the original I’m pretty sure neither of them are.


Film Information

Title: The Kuleshov Effect
Director: Lev Kuleshov
Year: 1918 (approximately)
Duration: 1 minute
Watch: youtube; youtube
Related Articles: wikipedia; Movements In Film; Nashville Film Institute