The Chance of a Lifetime (1917)

This page is part of a project to index the films produced by Bamforth and Co. Ltd of Holmfirth.


Based on a novel by Nat Gould, the film version by the Yorkshire Cine Company was announced in May 1916.[2]

According to The Bioscope, the Holmfirth Producing Co. Ltd. made the film at the Cherry Kearton Studios, Clapham Road, London, rather than at the Bamforth studios in Holmfirth.[3] Filming was completed by October 1916[4] and the first trade screening was held on 14 February 1917[5] at the Pathé Roof Garden Theatre.


  • Queenie Thomas — Mrs. Edgar
  • Austin Camp — Dick Douglas
  • Fay Temple — Diana Lawson
  • H. Agar Lyons — Captain Clinch
  • Frank Petley
  • Rohan Clensy
  • Ernest Collins
  • Will Asher[6]
  • Jock Hood[7]


Kinematograph Weekly (25/Jan/1917):

On Wednesday of the week following,to be precise, Wednesday, February 14th, a treat is in store for showmen of witnessing an all-English production under the Gold Rooster Brand, and what's more, a popular sporting tale, so dear to the heart of picture-play-goers, by the famous author, NAT GOULD. This film is none other than "THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME," probably Nat Gould’s most popular story, which has been perused by something like 10,000 readers. No doubt this strong attraction will make a bid for favour, and by reason of the thrilling tale, written by so well-known an author, the fine all-English production, and the exciting scenes, this play will certainly draw the crowds. One of the fascinating features of the film is Miss QUEENIE THOMAS, a young English actress of great personal attraction and ability. Miss Thomas is surely one of the most beautiful actresses now before the kinema public, and her undoubted histrionic talent, added to a charming presence, will soon force her into the limelight of popularity, and the first rank of favourite kinema-actresses. With so many interesting qualities, we predict a successful run for this greal film, and let’s hope it may prove the chance of a life-time for numerous exhibitors.


Research Notes

The film included horse racing scenes filmed at the Royal Windsor Racecourse, Berkshire. Six horses were hired for £30 from horse trainer Walter Hopkins of Ashtead, Surrey, along with four "Epsom" jockeys — the other two horses were ridden during filming by actors Billy Asher (riding a horse name Safety Match) and Jock Hood. Asher had been a jockey since 1902 and had ridden horses "in over 480 films" since 1906. As Safety Match turned a bend in the course, she fell hitting "her forelock on the upright of the railings" and breaking a leg. After being examined by W. V. Allen, the veterinary surgeon for the racecourse, the horse was put down. Since the horse was uninsured, Hopkins brought an action against the Holmfirth Producing Co. Ltd. for losses of £108, but judge Justice Darling found against the claim as Billy Asher "was a perfectly competent jockey and had not been guilty of any negligence in riding the horse".[8]

Early trade journal announcements for the film stated the Holmfirth Producing Co. Ltd would also be a filming a version of Nat Gould's book "A Gamble for Love".[9] In remains uncertain why this didn't happen, but a film based on the novel was subsequently released by Broadwest Films Ltd. in 1917.

Notes and References

  1. ;;The Bioscope (03/May/1917) page 435.
  2. "Nat Gould's Interest in Films" in The Bioscope (04/May/1916).
  3. "Round the Studios" in The Bioscope (20/Jul/1916).
  4. The Bioscope (12/Oct/1916) page 208.
  5. Kinematograph Weekly (01/Feb/1917) page 34.
  6. Also known as Billy Asher, this was the professional name of a jockey whose real surname was Sipple. He reportedly appeared in over 480 films riding horses, including the Bamforth production White Star (1915).
  7. Named as one of the jockeys in the film in an article in The Bioscope (28/Feb/1918) page 82.
  8. The Bioscope (28/Feb/1918) page 82.
  9. The Bioscope (04/May/1916) page 587.