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CINEMATIC INTERLUDE PATERSON’S SILENT MOVIE LANDMARK


BELIEVED to be one of the earliest narrative films made in Scotland, and almost certainly the first to be made in the Highlands, Andrew Paterson used the natural setting of the coast at North Kessock to make a silent movie involving smugglers, which premiered in the Central Hall Picture House, Academy Street, Inverness, on 29th June 1913. In 1912 one of the Gaumont area salesmen selling


photographic equipment persuaded Paterson to buy a cine camera. Paterson was much involved with amateur theatricals in Inverness at the time and decided to experiment with the new medium. During the spring the storyline was written by


Paterson and his wife Jenny. Paterson owned a holiday cottage in North Kessock where the family stayed each


summer, so locations were chosen close by in order to facilitate transport of the camera, equipment and cast. Locations include the shoreline east of the present Kessock Bridge at Kilmuir, below Croft Downie (ex- Craigton Cottage), and possibly an exterior scene filmed at Kessock House. Mairi: The Romance of a Highland Maiden, his


silent, black and white film, runs just over 17 minutes and is the dramatised account of Mairi, a young girl in love with a Revenue Officer, who is caught up in a fight to catch smugglers. In 1953 it was re-edited by James Nairn, who added a


written introduction, intertitles and credits. This is the version that has since been preserved, and it was shown again in 1983 and 2012 at Eden Court Theatre.


Andrew Paterson, camera in hand, flanked by his wife and daughter on the shoreline at North Kessock in later years.


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ANDREW PATERSON


ANDREW CHALMERS


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