Robert Paul is a largely forgotten name today, but he was a major pioneer of British cinema, and was quick to grasp the commercial potential of cinema in ways that better known pioneers such as William Friese-Greene were not. He was more of a mechanic than a filmmaker making, with Birt Acres, his own camera on which to shoot films in 1895, and also Britain's first projector, the Animatograph, with which to screen them in 1896. Early in the 20th century he had a custom-made studio built in Muswell Hill.
Paul seemed to have a thing for featuring forced or unintended public semi-nudity in his films, a reaction perhaps to the Victorian values that were still in place when this short film was made. It may have been filmed outdoors, or might just make use of an unusually convincing backdrop. Either way, this is a daft little film (which might have been quite shocking back in 1897), in which a robber forces a luckless stroller in the park to remove his hat, coat, waistcoat and trousers.
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