"Oh'Phelia" by Rob Davies

Music for a Silent Film

Now this is unusual. Oh'Phelia was was commissioned by Surrey Brass in 2005 to accompany a live showing of a silent film by Cecil Hepworth made in 1919 as part of our Loud Music for Silent Films innovative series of concerts to create new music for locally-made silent films. One of the first ever cartoons, in fact. An extremely loose adaptation of "Hamlet" provides the plot, which has some comic twists added, and the charming soundtrack reflects the action perfectly!

The film was made by Hepworth Picture Plays, and produced by Cecil M. Hepworth.

The script and artwork is by Anson Dyer.

The music is by Rob Davies

Part Shakespeare, part panto, this animated comedy seeks to put a smile on the gloomy Dane's face. One of a series of Shakespeare parodies, Anson Dyer's cartoon burlesques got rave reviews in the trade press of the time, with the Pall Mall Gazette proclaiming that the films offered "Fifteen minutes of unalloyed joy" and were "the caviar of the film trade".

Anson Dyer worked as a stained glass window artist until 1915, when at the age of 40 he began producing lightning sketch propaganda films. By the end of WWI, Dyer was one of a very small handful of key figures in the fledgling British animation industry. His reputation earned him the backing of Cecil Hepworth, pioneer director and producer and one of the biggest figures in British cinema of the time. Sadly, competition from American cartoons (along with Hepworth's bankruptcy) made British animation an unprofitable business, and by the late 1920s Dyer had moved away from filmmaking. He returned with a new cel animation studio in 1935, though, and managed to continue in the business into the 1950s.

Click to Watch the Film 

This British Film Institute article provides more information.

Read more at imdb.com


The Music

Music to accompany this film was written by Rob Davies arranged for a Brass Dectet (4/1/4/1) and is available for download (score and parts).