MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 11,129 this week

A Photographic Contortion (1901)
"The Big Swallow" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  September 1902 (USA)
6.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 632 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 3 critic

A man, objecting to being filmed, comes closer and closer to the camera lens until his mouth is all we see. Then he opens wide and swallows camera and cinematographer. He steps back, chews, and grins.

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 37 titles
created 11 Jan 2012
 
a list of 1120 titles
created 05 May 2012
 
a list of 22 titles
created 03 Jun 2012
 
Uni
a list of 25 titles
created 25 Mar 2013
 
a list of 23 titles
created 07 Jul 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: A Photographic Contortion (1901)

A Photographic Contortion (1901) on IMDb 6.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Photographic Contortion.

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A greedy tycoon decides, on a whim, to corner the world market in wheat. This doubles the price of bread, forcing the grain's producers into charity lines and further into poverty. The film... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Frank Powell, Grace Henderson, James Kirkwood
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A band-leader assembles an orchestra by mystifying means.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Short | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »

Directors: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Vivian Vaughan, Arthur White, James H. White
The Penalty (1920)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A deformed criminal mastermind plans to loot the city of San Francisco as well as revenge himself on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Charles Clary, Doris Pawn, Jim Mason
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A woman being fitted for shoes exposes her ankle to the shoe clerk, who is intrigued. He kisses her, but her chaperone hits him with her umbrella.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Edward Boulden
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, ... See full summary »

Directors: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière
Short | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

The titles tell us this film is based on an incident in the Boxer Rebellion. A man tries to defend a woman and a large house against Chinese attackers. They attack with swords, guns, and ... See full summary »

Director: James Williamson
Stars: Mr. James, Mr. Lepard, Florence Williamson
Short | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the moon.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès, Jules-Eugène Legris, Victor André
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A satire on the way that audiences unaccustomed to the cinema didn't know how to react to the moving images on a screen - in this film, an unsophisticated (and stereotypical) country yokel ... See full summary »

Director: Robert W. Paul
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A man dreams he is flirting with an attractive young lady, then he wakes up in bed next to his wife.

Director: George Albert Smith
Stars: Laura Bayley, Tom Green
Fire! (1901)
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Firefighters ring for help, and here comes the ladder cart; they hitch a horse to it. A second horse-drawn truck joins the first, and they head down the street to a house fire. Inside a man... See full summary »

Director: James Williamson
Time Piece (1965)
Short | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A surreal stream of consciousness montage about time and related bizarreness.

Director: Jim Henson
Stars: Jim Henson, Enid Cafritz, Dennis Paget
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Sam Dalton
Edit

Storyline

Here is a most novel picture. A prominent actor with wonderful talent for facial contortion is standing some distance from the camera. As the film is set in motion, he walks toward the lens until his head grows into enormous proportions. He then stands so close to the camera that every wrinkle in his face, and in fact, the pores of his skin are plainly shown and greatly magnified. As he comes closer to the lens he opens his mouth wide, and is biting at the instrument all the while. He is then seen to swallow the camera, operator and all. He is next seen backing away from the instrument, smacking lips and rubbing his stomach in great glee. Very funny and a great hit. Written by Edison Catalog

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

September 1902 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Photographic Contortion  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director James Williamson's 1901 catalog describes the film thusly: "I won't! I won't! I'll eat the camera first." See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Not about a large bird.
22 March 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

A delightful experiment in self-reflexivity from the days of early cinema, when enquiry about this new form was still encouraged before the standardisation of production and genre. A man finds he's being filmed; angered at this intrusion of his privacy, he approaches the camera and its operator, and eats them both!

The slow, looming mouth is a parody avant la lettre of horror films, an ordinary person turned into a monster, a giant by the cinema, in the same way ordinary people suddenly became huge when projected on a screen. Here we see that film doesn't just record things, it can enlarge, focus in close-up, distort, simply by magnifying a familiar feature. Maybe this is what the Indians meant in decrying soul-destroying photography; here, this ordinary man's soul becomes, punningly, negative.

Of course, the conceit isn't fully worked out - while it's lovely seeing the munching satisfaction of the avenging diner, especially as the shrunken cameraman was slurped up like so much spaghetti, it would be impossible for a camera in a man's belly to film the man from outside. There is always a second camera, filming silently on. This is the concerted power of cinema - you can do what you like, even eat its minions, but it'll still be there, like a Gothic doppelganger, immovable, watching your every move.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss A Photographic Contortion (1901) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page