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The Coherent Visual Narrative

Rescued by Rover

Cecil Hepworth & Lewin Fitzhamon, Hepworth Manufacturing Co., Great Britain, 1905

Although the film is largely a series of shots of a dog performing one trick at a time, Hepworth and Fitzhamon give coherence to their narrative by repeating the setups of the spaces through which Rover travels; the sense that the entire action takes place in a continuous space is also fostered by the practice of cutting from shot to shot on the dog’s motion within the frame. The action begins when Rover, overhearing the news that the family baby has been kidnapped, leaps out the window (Frame 1). He then bounds down the street (2) and around a corner (3) before swimming a nearby river (4). Going from door to door at a tenement (5), he finds the room in which the kidnapper is holding the baby (6). Reversing his trail (7), Rover swims the river again (8), races back down the street (9), and leaps back through the window (10). Inside, he successfully implores his master to follow him (11), whereupon he leads the father directly back to the kidnapper’s door ([12],[13],[14]). The rescued baby is quickly returned to its mother (15).

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