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Stories about hiding away a hoard of whisky or setting up a nation state in central London were lapped up by audiences.
In the US in the same period, Frank Capra had a knack of making feel-good movies about ostensibly dark and troubling subjects.
It marks a key stage in the medium's development from an amusing novelty to the "seventh art," able to hold its own alongside literature, theatre, painting, music and other more traditional forms," claims the British Film Institute's Screenonline website.
Film historians today continue to study Hepworth's storytelling technique but that wasn't what interested the 1905 audiences who flocked to see it. In the silent era, comedies were the most likely to have the feel-good factor.
Historically, the best feel-good movies have often been made at the darkest times.
Rather, it's a film that gives you a jolt with its sheer zest and captures the spirit of the era in which it is made.
Sullivan's Travels is about John L Sullivan (Joel Mc Crea), a glib and successful young Hollywood director of comedies, who yearns to be taken seriously.
He wants to make films of "social significance" that hold up a "mirror" to the experiences of the common man.
Danny Boyle's Golden Globe winner Slumdog Millionaire seems extraordinarily well-timed.
In the wake of the financial crisis and only weeks after the massacre at the Mumbai hotels, it's a film to enliven and excite audiences craving escape from grim headlines.
In his screwball road-movie It Happened One Night (1934), he threw together a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert) and an opportunistic journalist (Clark Gable).