7.3/10
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11 user 4 critic

Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928)

Vormittagsspuk (original title)
Hans Richter, noted for his abstract shorts, has everyday objects rebelling against their daily routine.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Werner Graeff
Walter Gronostay
Paul Hindemith
Darius Milhaud
Madeleine Milhaud
Jean Oser
Willi Pferdekamp
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Storyline

This film embraces the ideals of Dadism, as it shows a series of nonsensical images tied together by four floating bowler hats, which often transform into something else, and a clock ticking down the time. Some of the images include a man's bow-tie with a life of its own, a shooting range whose target continually changes from its standard concentric rings to a man's revolving head, a geometric pattern of guns, a group of men seemingly looking for something, a spool of a water hose, opening and closing windows, a group of people effectively hiding behind a narrow pole, a budding branch, the changing views of men's faces and the back of women's heads, human male legs in various movements, men fighting, and rotting smiles. All of this happens before men sit down for breakfast, when the bowlers find their final resting places. Written by Huggo

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Short

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Release Date:

14 July 1928 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Ghosts Before Breakfast  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Only one reel containing roughly six minutes of footage survived the Nazi Party's attempted purge of the film. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the English version, the opening title card states: "The Nazis destroyed the sound version of this film as 'degenerate art'. It shows that even objects revolt against regimentation." See more »

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User Reviews

 
GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST {Short} (Hans Richter, 1928) **1/2
15 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

This is a nonsense short but, at least, has a welcome surreal touch to it (though the official label would be "Dadaist") – unlike the other "avant-garde" films I watched at the same time…which were mostly highbrow and, frankly, anti-entertainment!

Reportedly, this was originally accompanied by a soundtrack which was destroyed by the Third Reich when it rose to power as an example of "degenerate art"; since here we get to see usually inanimate, albeit extremely innocent-looking, objects (such as hats and shirt collars) springing to life and refusing to blindly 'acquiesce' to their masters' whims, the oppressive socio-political connotations were immediately apparent to the Nazi regime!

Other memorable images that were later imitated by artists of even greater renown than its maker are those involving a number of persons disappearing behind a lamp-post (a trademark of Tex Avery cartoons) and the one where a male group unaccountably loses its set of full-grown beards to the womenfolk (which Luis Buñuel would 'borrow' for disparate effect in his first two own "avant-garde" but infinitely superior efforts)!


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