Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Two A.M., or The Husband's Return (1896)


Main image of Two A.M., or The Husband's Return (1896)
35mm, black and white, silent, 60 feet
Production CompanyPaul's Animatograph Works
ProducerR.W. Paul

Cast: Paul Clerget (husband); Miss Ross-Selwicke (wife)

Show full cast and credits

A drunken husband returns home late at night to the great irritation of his wife.

Show full synopsis

This brief comic vignette was described in R.W. Paul's catalogue as "Comic scene by Mons. Paul Clerget and Miss Ross Selwicke, representing the husband's return", and the time reference in the title tells us all we need to know. It's a study in often quite risqué body language, with the husband clearly the worse for drink, and the wife determined both to remonstrate with him and to get him undressed and into bed as quickly as possible.

It was almost certainly sourced from a concurrent stage production, and Paul's catalogue helpfully identifies the performers. Paul Clerget (1868-1935) was a French stage actor, and this is the earliest known film of him, predating the second entry in his filmography by over twenty years. He made half a dozen minor films in the US between 1917 and 1920, and then from 1930 onwards made arund twenty films in his native France, of which the best known is probably the Buster Keaton vehicle Le Roi des Champs-Elysées (France, 1934).

Ethel Ross-Selwicke (?-1906) was a popular English music-hall performer, specialising in light comedy and operetta. She also had some reputation as a dancer, making her ideally suited for silent comic performances, but this film seems to be her only appearance in front of the camera.

Michael Brooke

*This film is included in the BFI DVD compilation 'R.W. Paul: The Collected Films 1895-1908', with music by Stephen Horne and optional commentary by Ian Christie.

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete film (1:08)
His Brave Defender (1901)