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Sightseeing Through Whisky (1907)

Pauvre John ou Les aventures d'un buveur de whiskey (original title)
John is one of a group of sightseers who loves the bottle a little too much. Too drunk to follow the party, the reeling drunkard remains on a ruin site where he starts having hallucinations... See full summary »

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John is one of a group of sightseers who loves the bottle a little too much. Too drunk to follow the party, the reeling drunkard remains on a ruin site where he starts having hallucinations. Some kind of high priest conjures up before his eyes visions of beautiful living statues in antique women's clothing as well as platefuls of appetizing victuals. But whenever poor John tries to embrace one of the goddesses or eat the food, everything disappears. In the end, when John thinks he has finally fallen into the arms of one of the sirens, he finds himself in those of a fat lady who had lain down near him to take a rest. Written by Guy Bellinger

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November 1907 (France)  »

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Sightseeing Through Whisky  »

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1.33 : 1
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Star-Film catalog number # 1000-1004. See more »

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Méliès fails to find something new
21 December 2010 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

This comic playlet would be acceptable had it been filmed ten years before, in the innocent times when the first films were made. But this is 1907 and a single scene, a single idea and the same gag repeated over and over, which were enough for the undemanding fun fair spectators of a few years before, did not correspond to what new audiences wanted: more elaborate comedy, more action and more locations than painted canvases . Sure, "L'arroseur arrosé" is basic as well but Lumière's short comic act is both funny and moving because it contains the first gag ever filmed. Doing the same thing twelve years later shows that Georges Méliès, who made such inventive fantasies as "Le voyage dans la lune"(1902) or "Les 400 farces du diable" (1906), is beginning to lose his grip and is merely replicating what he has done before, failing to see that filmmaking in France (Alice Guy, Max Linder, Louis Feuillade, ...) and elsewhere (Edwin S. Porter, Cecil M. Hepworth, D.W. Griffith, ...) is evolving and that these pioneers are trying out new ideas and new ways to film stories. It is sad to say but viewing "Pauvre John" a hundred years after it was made is a regular ordeal (luckily a short one!). It is really difficult to laugh at the antics of this caricature of a drunk and at the predictable misfortunes he goes through... Six years later Méliès will go bankrupt and vanish into oblivion. An unjust treatment because he should have been honored for the pioneer he was and for what he brought to the seventh art but he would have been an even greater creator if he had been able to adapt to the changing art of filmmaking, which as 'Pauvre John' demonstrates, he stubbornly refused to do, preferring to stick to what he had done before.


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