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The Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman (1912)

Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora (original title)
A jilted husband takes his revenge by filming his wife and her lover and showing the result at the local cinema. This was one of Starewicz' first animated films, and stars very realistic ... See full summary »
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Storyline

A jilted husband takes his revenge by filming his wife and her lover and showing the result at the local cinema. This was one of Starewicz' first animated films, and stars very realistic animated beetles. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Release Date:

27 October 1912 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

The Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman  »

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1.33 : 1
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When the movie is shown in the theater, the camera angle is the one where we saw the scene from, but not the one where the grasshopper filmed the scene from. See more »

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Featured in Animated Century (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Delightful animation by a real pioneer
7 May 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

For animation buffs it's a must, but you don't have to be a specialist to enjoy The Cameraman's Revenge, a very early example of 'pixilation' by the hard-working pioneer Wladyslaw Starewicz. Starewicz and his helpers painstakingly manipulated a cast of flexible insect figures to tell this story, paving the way for the likes of Willis O'Brien, George Pal, Ray Harryhausen, and legions of modern digital effect creators.

The Cameraman's Revenge is only about 10 minutes long, but offers lots of amusing detail as the story follows the amorous adventures of two beetles from their home to a nightclub, a hotel, a cinema, and, eventually, a prison cell. There are two brief dance numbers at the nightclub performed by a frog and a dragonfly, a scuffle between a beetle and a grasshopper, and, for the finale, a large-scale donnybrook at the cinema, which ends with the projector bursting into flames. Pretty elaborate goings-on for 1912, when even John Bray and Winsor MacCay were just getting started, and Walt Disney was still in grade school!

This film, which is silent of course, also provides an interesting example of the impact title cards can have on the story being told. I've seen two versions of this film offered by two video companies, and watched them back-to-back, and although the image content itself is almost identical the title cards tell two very different stories. (And the plot outline someone provided on this film's IMDb page tells a third version of the tale, which suggests that there's another version out there somewhere.) The British Film Institute's print, which has rhyming title cards, tells the story of two sibling beetles, each secretly married, who hide this information from one another in order to inherit their late father's fortune. The Russian version tells a simpler story of a pair of beetles married to each other who are both guilty of infidelity. In the Russian version Mr. Beetle visits his girlfriend at the "Gay Dragonfly" nightclub, while in the English version brother Bill Beetle visits his wife at the music-hall. Personally, I prefer the straightforward-- and spicier --Russian story; the BFI version tries to cram too much plot into what should be a simple tale, and some of the rhymes are a bit awkward.

In any case The Cameraman's Revenge is a delightful and imagination film in whatever version you happen to find, and it would make an ideal lead-in to that other great animated work featuring beetles, Yellow Submarine.


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