James Williamson (8 November 1855, Kirkcaldy, Fife – 18 August 1933, Richmond) was an early film developer and film director.
Williamson was born near Kirkcaldy, Fife, and raised in Edinburgh. In 1868 he moved to London where he was an apprentice to a pharmacist, and bought his own pharmacy in 1877. In 1886 he moved to Hove in Sussex.
Williamson originally processed film for other early movie makers, and then began production of his own features. Later he went into the movie equipment manufacturing business with his son Stuart, an engineer.
One of his most notable and innovative films was The Big Swallow (1901), in which a man eats the cinematographer and his camera. He slowly approaches the viewer, walking into such an extreme close-up that his gaping mouth fills the screen, which goes black. In the same year he directed the film Fire!.
His pharmacy and photographic business was near G. A. Smith’s St. Anne’s Well Pleasure Garden, which had originally been… read more