Movie 5min

The Robber And The Jew (1908)

A Jewish man with a bag of gold is targeted by roadside robbers in this early comedy short reflecting antisemitic stereotypes

+ 2 images
Director Jack Smith
Country United Kingdom
Language English
(Country Spesific) Die Raeuber Und Der Jude
(Alternative) The Robbers and the Jew
Anti-Semitism Black and White Comedy Crime Drama Jew Money Robbery Short Silent Film Stereotype

Robbers wait by the roadside ready to spring upon a series of passing travellers, gleefully hiding their stolen plunder in a hollow tree. When a Jewish man comes along with a bag full of gold, the villains treat him worse than the others and tie him to the tree. One of the earliest surviving depictions of a Jewish person in British cinema, this comedy short reflects antisemitic stereotypes prevalent at the time, which played on fears of the 'Other'.

Source: BFI

Two armed robbers take valuables from various passers-by, hiding them in a hollow tree trunk. Main title. (2) Two robbers with pistols lie in wait behind a roadside tree. They stop a carriage bearing a wealthy man and order him and his valet to empty their pockets. The valet is allowed to leave because he has nothing and the wealthy man pleads for mercy whilst the robbers strip him of his jewels. He runs off and the robbers return to their hiding place to await their next victim, who is an old woman carrying a basket. One robber takes her purse, which she carries hidden under her skirts whilst the second checks her basket and takes a cauliflower. The booty is hidden in the hollow tree as before. The woman leaves and the robbers laugh at their success and hide behind the tree again. The next victim is a delivery boy from whom they steal sandwiches; followed by a policeman who, thinkinh he is unobserved, has a tot of spirits, when he is set upon and has his bottle stolen from him. The robbers gloat over their spoils before depositing them in the tree and hiding once more. The next victim is a Jew, whom the robbers tie to the tree. The robbers open the man's case and take out the valuables, placing them in the tree trunk. The Jew calls out and the other victims return with another policeman. The thieves are arrested and taken away. The crowd follows leaving the Jew tied to the tree. He shakes the tree to uproot it and stumbles away (312ft). (Shotlist)

The identity of the director is uncertain. Denis Gifford's 'The British Film Catalogue Volume 1 Fiction Film, 1895-1994' suggests that it may be Jack Smith.

Source: BFI

A very amusing incident, showing the different victims of two amateur highway robbers, including the Chinaman, the washwoman, the dudes and the strong man. The strong man is tied to the tree and very much surprises the robbers by walking off with tree and all their booty besides, which they have stored in the hollow trunk. A good comic subject.

Source: Moving Picture World

Amateur thieves try to rob strong man.

Source: British Film Catalogue

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R.W. Paul - Producer
Jack Smith - Director
Nobody cares about the jew

It is fascinating how much the early films could do with having so little of a scene to play with. Here there is only one. Two robbers wait for their prey, and one by one they rob different people, until the last one which is a jew gets special treatment. When the other comes to catch the thieves, they do not care about the jew and leave him bound to the tree. Quite fun as a movie(the jew could be anyone and it would be the same), but at the same time it has the chime of anti-semitism to it.