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Boys' Cricket Match and Fight (1900)


Main image of Boys' Cricket Match and Fight (1900)
35mm, black and white, silent, 102 feet
Production CompanyBamforth Company

A boys' cricket match is in progress and when one of the batsmen is caught out a fight ensues with wickets.

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Slightly more elaborate than its contemporaries Boys Sliding and Leap Frog (both 1900), Bamforth's Boys' Cricket Match and Fight (also 1900) is a two-shot film that marks a progression from a strong tendency of their films to collapse into scenes of chaotic violence. The first shot of the film suggests that this will be the case here, too, as a disputed call in a cricket match quickly leads to an all-out scrum, with freshly-uprooted stumps being used as makeshift weapons.

But the film then cuts to its second shot, in which only the two boys at the centre of the dispute have a formalised punch-up that at least superficially appears to adhere to the Queensberry Rules, the other boys reduced to spectators occasionally helping them to their feet.

This approach suggests that Bamforth was well aware that the appeal of many of their earlier films rested in the violent punishment meted out by their protagonists and decided to develop this further in a film where the fighting is as important a narrative element as the cricket match that precedes it.

The two-shot structure also permits a useful change in viewpoint: the cricket match is shot from behind the stumps, the slightly flattened perspective intensifying the impact of the ball being bowled in our direction and speeding up the running batsmen. When the fight commences, the viewpoint shifts to a sideways-on look at the participants, giving us a ringside seat and the best vantage point for examining their technique (such as it is).

Michael Brooke

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Video Clips
Complete film (1:48)
Playing Away (1986)
Bamforth and Co.