This Film Is More Than 100 Years Old

A Woman Undressing (1896)

A Woman Undressing is apparently the oldest known piece of British film erotica. Filmed in 1896 by Esmé Collings, it is almost exactly a minute of a woman undressing, although, such was the clothing style at the time, that’s still not enough time for the woman to actually get undressed.

I very much like the matryoshka element of the display, dresses under skirts under dresses, some sort of Hadean nightmare where no matter how many layers you remove you’re never any closer to getting ready for bed.

So wonder she sits down and sighs at the end. She’s probably got another fifteen slips to remove before she can leave.


1. I watched this on the BFI site as usual.

2. I was somewhat afraid to google for alternate links

3. But it turns out it was okay

4. Although the youtube version I found has the world’s worst musical accompaniment.

5. When obviously it should have been this


Film Information

Title: A Woman Undressing
Director: Esmé Collings
Year: 1896
Duration: 1 minute
Watch: BFI Player; youtube