FILM lovers in the Borders are to be given the opportunity to see a big screen gem which was thought lost for almost 80 years.

GB Samuelson’s 1923 remarkable silent film, A Couple of Down and Outs, has been described as ‘the original War Horse’.

It tells the story of Danny Creath, an unemployed war veteran, who rescues his old horse Jack from being sent to slaughter.

Pursued by the police he takes shelter in a house where a young woman, reminded of her own brother who was killed during the war, helps him to escape.

But for around eight decades it was accepted the groundbreaking movie had been lost.

Sir Sydney Samuelson, son of the film’s creator, first saw a non-restored version of A Couple of Down and Outs at a silent film festive at Pordenone, Italy, some years ago, soon after it had been found in a set of rusty 35mm film cans.

Following the discovery it was digitally restored by the British Film Institute.

And it will now be screened at the Heritage Hub in Hawick on Saturday, February 24.

Sydney said: “Having been lost for about 80 years, the film copy was in poor condition due to chemical deterioration of the celluloid based images.

“What we are seeing now is the result of a caring, skilful and altogether brilliant restoration by the BFI Archive experts in Berkhampstead.

"Our family congratulations and appreciation go to them happily, enthusiastically and thankfully.”

Danny Creath, is played by war hero-turned actor Captain Rex Davis MC, a courageous infantry officer who served with valour throughout the First World War.

He was himself awarded the Military Cross for ‘consistent bravery when overcoming dangerous situations'.

Molly Roake is played by Edna Best.

After making A Couple of Down and Outs, she acted in other Samuelson films before Hollywood called.

The last UK film she appeared in was South Riding (1938) with Sir Ralph Richardson and Ann Todd.

Mr Samuelson Jnr added: “The screenplay came about after my father read a short story in Strand Magazine.

“Believing it had the making of a movie, he asked a member of' Worton Hall Studio staff to develop it to feature film length and to create the appropriate production values.”

This screening follows on from the work of the Saving and Sharing Scottish Borders Stories of WWI project, which was run by Live Borders Museum, Archive and Library Services in 2016/17 and had previously worked with Scotland’s War.

Project Officer Morag Cockburn said: “We are excited to be able to show this rare film at the Heritage Hub, which highlights some of the many ways the war impacted on regular people.”

A Couple of Down & Outs will be screened at The Heritage Hub, Hawick, on Saturday February 24, at both 2pm and 7pm.

Booking is essential on 01450 360699 or

Screenings are free but there will be a collection for Scotland’s War.