The daughter of a millionaire is in love with a plain ordinary American, but unfortunately not rich. One evening the young man asks the stern father for the hand of his daughter in marriage... See full summary »

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The daughter of a millionaire is in love with a plain ordinary American, but unfortunately not rich. One evening the young man asks the stern father for the hand of his daughter in marriage, but the old man refuses to grant his consent, because he has arranged a match with a French nobleman, the Count O. de St. Estephe, who is going to call the following day. When the girl is left alone, she indulges in shedding a few tears over the refusal of her father to grant his consent to the American. She is informed by a letter that a number of friends will come the same night to rehearse a play. She explains her trouble to her friends, and they decide that they will don costumes and play the parts of lunatics and thus scare the count out of his wits and drive him off. Well, what a circus they all had when the count made his appearance. One, dressed up as an American Indian, seizes the count by the hair and goes through motions as if to scalp him. Another appears dressed as a cowboy, who ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Comedy

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17 November 1909 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Original French title undetermined. See more »

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The main thread of the story is obscured
19 January 2015 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

A careful study of the pictures that Mr. Melies has released in the last few weeks shows us a practiced mind at work in the productions, which, however, are not handled with that pureness of touch which makes for instant success in the American moving picture theater to-day. In the Melies pictures you have the subject right enough, and the material. All that is required is an eliminating and codifying process, as it were, to make the Melies pictures as a whole attractive to the audience. Generally speaking, there is too much confusing detail of action put in the Melies productions, so that the main thread of the story is obscured. We felt this the other day when looking at "A Tumultuous Elopement," which, however well it read on paper, was somewhat sketchy in presentation to the public, many of whom, however, to be just to the actors, laughed heartily at the picture. Much the same sort of criticism applies to "Mr. and Mrs. Duff," one of this week's releases. An amusing thing in its way, but so scattered and indefinite as regards plot that the effect made upon the minds of the audience, while amusing enough, is the reverse of convincing; in fact, though the people laughed, we heard them asking what this picture was all about, and we ourselves, frankly, were in the same state of mind. So. too, with the film, the title of which heads this review. As the story is told in the story part of last week's World, it is good and plausible enough. A French nobleman comes a wooing a pretty American girl, the daughter of a millionaire. Some friends of the girl, masquerading in fancy dress, determine to give the count a rough tune in order to pave the way for the success of an American boy in the affections of the girl. Having regard to the present state of the American mind on the subject of foreign marriages, here is a theme which offers excellent scope for dramatic treatment on the moving picture stage; and certainly the picture turns out to be a very amusing one. The French count suffers pretty badly at the hands of the mummers, and some highly comical situations develop, to which the actors do such thorough justice that the audience is kept in a ripple of merriment all the time. Yet for all this the motive of it was somewhat obscure. It did not appear to us that the count had gone a-wooing; that he had an American rival; that the American rival was ultimately successful. Precisely why the count should fail or be buffeted about was not made clear, for he seemed quite a nice sort of a count. In other words, in this Melies picture there was a lack of dramatic suggestion and grip, a very common failing with the moving picture film just now, which leaves the audience in doubt, or at any rate does not make the motive of the picture so clear as it should be made. But, for the rest of it, we desire to congratulate Melies upon a very fine piece of work, well staged, well acted and almost well photographed. By the word "almost" we do not wish to be hypercritical at Mr. Melies, because we know that the photographic end of a moving picture plant is not got in apple-pie order in a few days. There are many light and dark splashes on his films which a little more experience on the chemical end will get rid of. Moreover, in a little while we are convinced that the Melies films will approach nearer to the truly pantomimic, and therefore will take a large place in the American moving picture field. - The Moving Picture World, November 27, 1909


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