In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or, in one case, a wig followed by a few gestures. First ... See full summary »
In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or, in one case, a wig followed by a few gestures. First he becomes the large-nosed squire whipping his horse as he rides in his surrey, then he's a kindly mustachioed ticket taker, next an imperious sea captain with the bearded look of Czar Nicholas. Out comes a light-colored top hat, big nose and handkerchief for the brief appearance of a lugubrious character, followed by a capitalist making a deal in black silk top hat and mustache. Last, white hair, pork-chop sideburns and large mustache capture a retired raconteur. Written by
This feature highlights a pretty clever routine, with some funny moments. Unlike most Lumière films, it's really a filmed stage act, rather than material that made particular use of the cinematograph's special abilities. But one other thing that movies do is to allow viewers to see talented performers without having to travel so far away to do so.
The routine itself is pretty good, and it has some features that are quite clever. In going through the "Transformation By Hats", the performer matches hats, facial features, and gestures to create in each case a clearly defined personality. The various transformations come in quick succession, making the effect even more impressive. There is also good variety in the choice of effects.
Though it does not have the technical innovation found in many Lumière films, this one is well worth seeing just for the entertainment value.
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