3 mins
Dirs: Cecil M. Hepworth and Lewin Fitzhamon
Starring: Actors unknown

A man preparing for a trip encounters a series of mysterious problems when everything around him starts to disappear

This short early trick film shows technique that is quite good for such an early movie, and it is pretty amusing to watch. The visual tricks are also done in a slightly different style than was usual for features of this kind, making it something of an interesting curiosity from the technical standpoint. At the time, the usual technique in making this kind of comedy feature was to use simple stop-motion, so that an object appeared in one frame and was completely absent from the next. These film-makers tried something different and more labour-intensive, combining stop-motion with a double exposure technique that makes various objects seem to fade in and fade out, sometimes simultaneously. The effect is rather interesting and in a couple of the sequences it works rather well. The movie features a scene at Walton-on-Thames station with a train made up of LSWR suburban coaches and a passing express hauled by a Drummond 4-4-0. Both disappear in front of the viewers very eyes! The film was released in the US as The Bewitched Traveller, a simple reversal of the film’s alternate British title but a title today that is most often used when referring to this early wonder. The railway footage is available on Video 125’s Trains from the Arc’ DVD.

This is Walton-on-Thames with LSWR suburban stock in the platform. As it is in black and white one does not get to appreciate the ‘salmon and brown’ livery of the coaches.
Now that the train has disappeared we get to see Walton-on-Thames station in its original format. The station appeared in a handful of very early silent films because it was the nearest station to the Hepworth Studios in Hurst Grove.
This is a shot of a train arriving in the hands of a Drummond 4-4-0. Slightly less crisp than the images above, it is still remarkably clear for a piece of film that is now well over 100 years old.