An abridged version of the tale of Rip Van Winkle, a lazy American man, who wanders off one day with his dog Wolf into the Kaatskill mountains where he runs into an odd group of men ... See full summary »
The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.
An abridged version of the tale of Rip Van Winkle, a lazy American man, who wanders off one day with his dog Wolf into the Kaatskill mountains where he runs into an odd group of men drinking and playing bowls. He drinks some of their mysterious brew and passes out. When he wakes up under a tree he is astonished to find that 20 years have passed and things are a lot different. This is a charming story about how America changed due to the Revolutionary War, only in a different and more subtle way than ever told before. Written by
For a series of films made in 1896 this is pretty much ahead of its time. Think about it, cinema was less than twelve months old, Porter's Great Train Robbery - generally (if probably inaccurately) considered the first narrative film - was still seven years in the future, and yet here's a doughty old chap named Joseph Jefferson indulging in a few exaggerated gestures as he takes on the role of Rip van Winkle (a role I believe he was famous for playing on stage). By today's standards the film is amateurish, but for its day it's first class. You have to laugh at their interpretation of a dwarf though - a normal sized man crouching as he waddles around with a barrel on his shoulder. Definitely worth a look if you're interested in cinema's infancy.
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