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Our New Errand Boy (1905)


Main image of Our New Errand Boy (1905)
35mm, black and white, silent, 350 feet
DirectorJames Williamson
Production CompanyWilliamson Kinematograph Company

Cast: Tom Williamson (The Errand Boy); James Williamson (Grocer)

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A grocer engages a new errand boy, but soon regrets the appointment...

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Our New Errand Boy (1905) was directed by James Williamson, one of the 'Brighton school' of pioneers which also included G.A. Smith and Esmé Collings. Williamson had already distinguished himself as an innovator with his fake news item Attack on a China Mission (1901), which featured the first use of a cut for dramatic effect, and has been credited with the first edited chase sequence in Stop Thief! (1901) and, in Fire! (also 1901), the first film to use cutting to advance the narrative.

Our New Errand Boy is a relatively unambitious chase comedy, following a young horror whose wicked deeds include drenching the driver of a water cart, upsetting an old woman's shopping and covering a curate with flour. Finally he manages to trap his furious pursuers in a hen run and escapes, laughing.

Errand Boy is one of a number of Williamson films featuring a mischievous child, played by the director's son Tom, one of four Williamson children who frequently appeared in their father's films. Williamson himself also appears as the grocer.

Mark Duguid

*An extract from this film is featured as part of 'How They Laughed', Paul Merton's interactive guide to early British silent comedy. The film can also be downloaded in its entirety from the BFI's Creative Archive. Note that this material is not limited to users in registered UK libraries and educational establishments: it can be accessed by anyone within the UK under the terms of the Creative Archive Licence.

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Video Clips
Complete film (5:46)
Production stills
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Daisy Doodad's Dial (1914)
Dear Boys Home for the Holidays, The (1904)
Drat That Boy! (1904)
Man to Beat Jack Johnson, The (1910)
Mary Jane's Mishap or, Don't Fool with the Paraffin (1903)
Rival Barbers, The (1905)
Tilly, The Tomboy, Visits the Poor (1910)
Two-Chinned Chow (1923)
Would You Believe It? (1929)
Educating Marmalade/ Danger: Marmalade at Work (1982-84)
Williamson, James (1855-1933)
Silent Comedy