Film ID: YFA 994 Video of YFA 994 Some Twins (1915) SOME TWINS c.1915 Visitor TabsDescription This is a comedic film made by the Bamforth Film Company. Title - Some Twins The film begins with a letter addressed to Jack mentioning that Uncle Jim decides to forgive him for going on the stage and now hears he has a family. He decides to make the son of Jack “heir” to the fortune as he can’t stand girls, etc. It is signed by the uncle. The letter is read by Jack, his wife and their daughter. Another letter is written...”Dear Uncle, we have a rehearsal at five. Glad you’ve forgiven us, Jack. PS. Your mistake, we have a girl not a boy. The girl upon reading this looks shocked, waves her parents goodbye and makes a plan. She looks again at the letter and says “I wish I was twins, the very idea!” She runs off and finds a grass basket, pulls out some clothes and says “Your best clothes, remember Willie”. She goes to a boy who is holding a cricket bat and pleads with him to lend her some of his clothes. He reluctantly agrees. She reads the “rehearsal” letter once more and runs off. The uncle arrives; she ingratiates herself and makes him feel at home, much to the uncle’s disgust. She props his legs onto a chair and cushion and he orders her to send her brother to come and see him. The girl looks towards the camera and it is clearly evident she has a trick up her sleeve. As she dresses in her friends clothes, she discovers they are back to front. The uncle tired of waiting falls asleep. The uncle is rudely awakened by the “heir” (the girl in her “brother’s” clothes). The heir is also wearing a costume wig. The heir plays a trick on the uncle by tying his shoe laces together. He then pokes the uncle in the stomach was the cane and laughs hysterically. The uncle follows his “heir” into the garden and many practical jokes follow. The heir provides a makeshift chair out of a barrel filled with water and when the uncle sits down the wooden plank is pulled out from under him. He falls into the water again and again. The heir delighted, transforms back into the girl. She rushes towards the uncle looking absolutely shocked and exclaims that her brother is a very naughty boy, kisses him on the cheek. This leaves him very surprised and touched and then he leaves. The parents return back from rehearsal and receive a letter reading...”Dear Nephew, have changed my mind and intend to leave all my money to your dear little daughter, Uncle Jim. PS. Your son is a little devil and wants drowning. The parents are decidedly shocked and the girl runs off gleefully ad thrilled with her accomplishment. Context This film is one of around 20 plus surviving films made by the Bamforth Company of Holmfirth, with copies held by the YFA. James Bamforth was one of a small group of early British filmmakers, along with Cecil Hepworth, George Albert Smith, and Robert Paul, and the first to take the music hall tradition into film. Their filmmaking falls into two distinct two year periods: the first from 1898 to 1900 (possibly extending to 1903), separated by a period of producing just postcards, and the second from 1913 until 1915, curtailed by the First World War (perhaps because the material used to make film was needed to make explosives). Others from the later period include the 1915 Sharps And Flats, and Jessie from 1914. For more on the early years of Bamforth see the Context for Kiss in The Tunnel (1899); and for the later period Winky Causes a Small Pox Panic (1914). The one exception to this periodisation is possibly Some Twins which has been thought to have been made around 1905. However, and rather oddly, this film does not appear on the British Film Institute (BFI) or the Internet Movie Database (IMD) lists, nor is it mentioned in the most authoritative source, Gifford’s British Film Catalogue. Given that it is generally thought that Bamforth’s weren’t making films at this time, and that this is a long narrative film more typical of the later period, it is in all probability a film from 1914 – 1915. The girl who stars in the film may well be ‘Baby Langley’ who joined Bamforth’s in 1915. The earlier films are listed in the Hepworth catalogue of 1903 as RAB Films, as Bamforth initially began making films with the Riley Brothers of Bradford, although they also both made films independently of each other. The films got buried away after the First World War as Bamforth turned its attention to making postcards, and weren’t uncovered until after the Second World War when James Bamforth’s grandson returned from the war and again took the reins of the company. He passed the films on to the National Film Archive – although some were left for his daughter, June Couch, who thought the YFA was their rightful home. Unfortunately, because of the poor conditions they had been kept in, many of the films had deteriorated beyond recovery, and very little documentation came with the films. This meant that in compiling a list of the films that Bamforth made, as with many other early film companies, there was a reliance on entries in trade catalogues and journals, and other publicity material. Gifford took the first occasion that there is a mention of a film to date each one. This also means that there can be a variation in the titles of some films, which can lead to confusion – Charlie Chaplin films were often renamed and re-cycled. The British Film Institute list 127 films made by Bamforth in total: 14 for the period 1898 – 1901 and 113 from a period of 1914 – 1915, with 37 films having the name ‘Winky’ in the title. This list cannot be relied upon to be complete. The IMD gives a list of 131, which doesn’t entirely tally with the BFI list and includes 8 films from 1916. This list, apart from the pre 1914 films – the IMD list seven of these, with two titles not on the BFI list – exactly matches the list they give for the director Cecil Birch, including the eight 1916 films. It is not clear why there is this discrepancy: one would have thought that the BFI would be more authoritative on this than the IMD (and that this would have been the source for the IMD). There might also be a question mark over whether all the dates are accurate on the BFI database as no sources are provided (neither does Gifford publish the sources for each film). There is therefore room for differences on dates and titles: the film Paula is listed as 1915, whereas Racheal Low has this as 1916 (the BFI were joint publishers of Low’s book). It isn’t certain exactly how many films in total from Bamforth have survived: the IMD states that 15 Bamforth films have survived and the BFI doesn’t say. The YFA has approximately 25. References Robert Benfield, Bijou Kinema, A History of Cinema in Yorkshire, Sheffield City Polytechnic, 1976. Bryony Dixon, and Luke Mckernan, British silent comedy films: viewing copies in the National Film and Television Archive, BFI Collections, London, 1999. Denis Gifford, The British film catalogue, 3rd edition, Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001 Racheal Low, History of British Film, 1896 – 1906, Vol. 1, Routledge 1997 (1948). Stephen Herbert and Luke McKernan, Who's Who of Victorian Cinema (London: BFI Publishing, 1996) Duncan Petrie, The British Cinematographer, British Film Institute, London, 1996 Allan Sutherland, 'The Yorkshire Pioneers', Sight and Sound, Winter 1976-7, pp. 48-51 Issue 187 - Vol 46 No. 1 1977 The Bamforth & Co. The screen online entry on Bamforth and Co. Further Information Alan Burton, and Laraine Porter, Scene-stealing: sources for British cinema before 1930, Flicks Books, Trowbridge, Wilts, 2003. Jon Burrows, Legitimate cinema: theatre stars in silent British films 1908 – 1918, University of Exeter Press, 2003.