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Rescued by Rover (1905)

Not Rated | | Short, Crime, Drama | 19 August 1905 (USA)
A dog leads its master to his kidnapped baby.

Writer:

Mrs. Hepworth (story)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Blair Blair ... Rover the dog
May Clark ... Nursemaid (as Mabel Clark)
Barbara Hepworth Barbara Hepworth ... The baby
Cecil M. Hepworth ... Harassed father (as Cecil Hepworth)
Mrs. Hepworth Mrs. Hepworth ... Mother
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Storyline

Rescued by Rover is a film about a dog. Not only is it a film about a dog it is also a film about the kidnaping of a young baby by an old woman. With these two classical Hollywood ingredients and some stunning dialogue, (It's silent!), Rescued by Rover really hits a nerve. The repeated shots provide some interest in what, surprisingly, is an entertaining example of early cinema, canine heroics and a man wearing mascara. Written by Paul Lancaster <pbl1@ukc.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Crime | Drama | Family

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rescued By Rover', directed by Lewin Fitzhamon, was the first film for which Hepworth employed professional actors - in the persons of Mr. and Mrs. Sebastian Smith. See more »

Alternate Versions

According to "The Oxford History of World Cinema" this movie was so successful that Hepworth had to remake it twice to supply enough prints to meet demand. All with the same narrative, the original version is differentiable from the remakes via the scene where the nurse tells her boss that she lost the child. The original breaks the scene into two shots - the second shot being from a closer position. The two remakes contain only one shot, from the closer position, in that scene. One of the remakes is what is shown on the third volume of "The Movies Begin" series. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995) See more »

User Reviews

Narrative Development: Continuity
2 August 2004 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

The Great War wrecked the European film market, allowing the US to become the dominant film-making nation, and it has remained so to this day. Pathé of France, for a time, was the largest producer of films, and continued to be successful during the war due to its American subsidiary. British filmmakers, however, advanced the art form the most during the early nineteen-naughts (Georges Méliès and Edwin S. Porter were, more or less, national anomalies), reaching something of a national peak with "Rescued by Rover." Cecil Hepworth managed the most prominent British film company of the period, and they managed to stay successful during the war, before being outdone in the 1920s.

From what I've read in "The Oxford History of World Cinema," Hepworth was outdone partially because the editing in his films became incoherent (fades being used where cuts should be and vise-versa). Rather odd considering that editing is part of what makes "Rescued by Rover" a landmark in film history. Hepworth and director Lewin Fitzhamon wisely use simple cuts in this rescue picture. "Rescued by Rover" was a great commercial success; so much so (again, according to the afore cited source), that Hepworth had it remade twice to supply enough prints (presumably because the negatives wore out). I watched one of the remakes. (I'll relay details to the alternate versions section of this website.) Hepworth sold 395 prints, which was very good for the era (Chanan, "Early Cinema").

The story of "Rescued by Rover" is in the early film tradition of temperance and bourgeois fear of the poor; an alcoholic vagrant abducts a baby from a neglectful nurse, so a cute dog must rescue the child. After the dog gets the aid of a man, the man uses a boat to cross an inlet. I'm not sure the man had to use the boat when two bridges are visible within the frame. I guess it's part of the absurdity and lingering of the film. A dog is the rescuer, and the camera sits around patiently for the action to proceed, which, of course, is usual for the period. That the film doesn't do anything Griffith-like to hurry up with the suspense doesn't bother me--it's a short film, after all.

The continuity of the pace is the remarkable thing. Cuts for smooth transitions, panning to keep action within frame, a match cut to a closer look in the final scene, in addition to the similarity of indoor and outdoor lighting, make for a fluent film. In contrast with the lengthy rescue shots, the first and final ones aren't long enough. There's one or two jump cuts, too, or it could be just flickers. The worst problem, however, is the missing walls. It's probably feckless to mention it; not until filmmakers like Orson Welles came about would interior spatial dimensions be explored.

(Note: This is one of four films that I've commented on because they're landmarks of early narrative development in film history. The others are "As Seen Through a Telescope," "Le Voyage dans la lune" and "The Great Train Robbery".)


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

None

Release Date:

19 August 1905 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Resgate de Rover See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hepworth See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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