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It very wee could be. Whether or not it is, it's a short, sweet little vignette showing a group of guys doing scottish highland dancing, or at least their own loose interpretation thereof (they look like they've been hitting the sauce pretty hard between takes). The cameraman was obviously undercranking the machine, so the action appears in slow motion. It's barely a minute long, yet delightful while it lasts.
I thought the Edison short ADMIRAL CIGARETTES (1897) was the first commercial but I have since discovered this short promoting Dewar's Scotch Whiskey made the same year. Whichever one came first has the dubious distinction of being the worlds first commercial motion picture. Several men in kilts dance (in slow motion) in front of a banner advertising Dewar's Scotch. No one drinks any whiskey in the short but from the way they dance they must have imbibed quite a bit before the cameras began turning! This and the Admiral Cigarette short are all the proof we need that merchants quickly discovered moving pictures could be used to add a sensationalism to their product that print ads could not. Long live commercialism!
While the actual footage is rather strange and not really very good,
this is certainly of historical significance. As others have pointed
out, it shows how quickly after their invention that motion pictures
came to be seen as a possible means of advertising. This promotional
footage for Dewars whiskey is one of the very earliest such features
(perhaps the very first) that still survives.
The footage itself simply depicts a number of individuals dressed as Highlanders, complete with kilts, and obviously having a good time. Apparently audiences were supposed to infer that the product being advertised was responsible for the euphoric mood of the actors.
It's kind of silly, really, but on a rational level it is surely no less logical than are the majority of the advertising appeals that we see in our own technologically advanced era. Besides its historical significance, it's certainly an unusual curio of its era as well.
Supposedly one of the film filmed advertisements, this probably
wouldn't get far in a modern marketing meeting but it is of interest
because, even back in the very first days of cinema, the technology was
seen as a way of shifting product. The actual advert itself appears to
be a poorly positioned sign showing the name of the whiskey with a
handful of men dressed in Scottish garb dancing (badly) in front of it.
The dance is not done in any sort of structured way and it is not so
much a presentation of anything as it is a bit like a couple of p1ssed
up blokes messing around.
I suppose it is interesting as a piece of media history but outside of that it is, well, a couple of blokes dancing badly in front of a small billboard.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . PRIOR to "coming out" on this dance stage. I think the guy in the middle is my great great uncle Rudy. Gramps says his uncle was a spoon and fork short of a silverware set. When Rudy was at Eton, he had a chance to win the prize miniature cannon for being the top student in the mechanical engineering finals. He practically aced the test. However, on one of the easiest parts, where you just had to label a line drawing "left, right, left, right, left, right," Uncle Rudy wrote "right, left, right, left, right, left" and got marked six off, missing the cannon by one point! (Even though Rudy had life-long problems with spacial relations, he never believed in double-checking his work!) Unfortunately, this incident at boarding school set the tone for the rest of Rudy's life; he was lost at Verdun when he took a wrong turn in the trench (and he could have aged out of his regiment earlier, but he just loved drilling too much to quit). At any rate, I'm glad the Dewars people remember Rudy.
It's strange to think that film-makers grasped the concept of using film to advertise products before the idea of using film to tell stories occurred to them, but here you have the proof. As another reviewer mentioned, Admiral Cigarettes is generally considered to be the first advertisement but this one can't have been far behind. As all the other reviewers have also noted, this isn't very good. A bunch of men in kilts jig about on a stage in slow motion for a while, no doubt having a whale of a time, but the rest of us are left strangely unmoved. Wouldn't it have been nice if, after efforts like this, ad men had decided film wasn't the medium to use for peddling their wares after all?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Basically this is 45 seconds of three men dancing and I assume this is supposed to indicate that they're having a fun time after drinking the brand of scotch mentioned in the title. It's all just guessing though and without the knowledge, I'd never have thought this was an ad to be honest. The kilts are an okay reference to the kind of alcohol they like, but that's really all the interesting things there are in here and with the kilt I also wonder how much people knew about foreign cultures back in 1897 to really make the connection described before? Anyway, the whole thing is clearly inferior in terms of idea as well as execution to "Admiral Cigarette" from the same year.
Okay, the film gets a 3 even though it's duller than dust because back
in 1898, ALL the films were duller than dust--having NOT AN OUNCE OF
PLOT--consisting of people doing mundane stuff that thrilled audiences
at the time but would hopelessly bore people today because films are so
This film, believe it or not, consists of some Scottish-looking guys in kilts jumping about--and it's bad dancing at that! THAT'S IT!!! Just guys in skirts dancing! From a historical standpoint, this is a very important film, but in every other respect, it's pretty pointless. How this could encourage ANYONE to buy their Scotch is beyond me!
Touted by many as the very first advertising film this is really nothing more than a shot of bemused actors dressed in kilts performing a very poor impression of a highland fling. How anybody thought that this would encourage people to drink Dewars whiskey is beyond me. Funny that the mental processes of advertising executives was as unfathomable then as it is now.
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