La cella di un condannato a morte. L'uomo sta dormendo e sogna il passato che lo ha portato in prigione : vita frenetica, cattive amicizie, alcolismo, l'assassinio di un cassiere di banca. ... See full summary »
A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »
Scientists from all over the world are meeting to discuss the best way to reach the North Pole. Professor Maboul demonstrates for them the innovative equipment that he has designed for the ... See full summary »
Wintertime in Lyons. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of ... See full summary »
Mr. Cody arrives by carriage, walks to a barn, and slides open the doors to reveal a large biplane. He pulls it out of the hanger. One man checks the engine while another starts the ... 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 ... See full summary »
Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a ... See full summary »
An elegant dandy - he of suit, vest, tie, and top hat - ignores his wife at dinner in favor of his newspaper, so she tearfully leaves him and returns home to mother. He is ecstatic, dancing... See full summary »
A squat, muscular dog steals a leg of lamb or mutton from a butcher shop, and the local constabulary, armed with truncheons, gives chase. Man's best friend, keeping a firm-jowled grip on the meat, leads the town's finest down streets, across boulevards, through a cellar and up the side of the building to a steep roof, then down again, and to his doghouse. The cops gingerly surround the place, then out bursts the canine and chases the entire force back to their station. Written by
For much of the way this little chase film looks like a dress rehearsal for the later Keystone comedies, as goofy French cops chase a dog through the streets of Paris. The dog has stolen a leg of mutton from a butcher shop, and we're amused to observe that these gendarmes have nothing better to do than to spend the day chasing him. Paris certainly looks like a sleepy place, here! Typically for movies of this era, most of the scenes were filmed on location in public areas, and in some shots we can see passersby in the background stopping to watch the action. But after two or three minutes of this, something interesting happens when the dog approaches one particular building: the filmmakers switch to a painted set, meant to represent that same building, and the dog appears to accomplish the impossible, running up the side of the structure as naturally as he does everything else. And then, without so much as a pause to react, the cops follow the dog's lead and scale the building themselves.
To our eyes, trained by viewing decades' worth of ever-improving special effects, the sight of the dog and the cops scaling the building is startling for a split second, then funny. We quickly realize that a painted backdrop has been laid flat on the floor of a studio, and the dog and the cops have simply been filmed clambering across it from overhead. Nevertheless, even today, seeing these shots spliced into the middle of otherwise ordinary chase footage surprises us. Audiences of 1907 must have burst into shocked laughter at the sight. Film textbooks and documentaries give much of the credit for this sort of comedy to the Keystone/Sennett crew of the 1910s and '20s, but it would appear that the pioneering filmmakers at Pathé who produced La Course Des Sergents De Ville (also known as "The Policemen's Little Run"), and many other similar films, got there first. This charming film retains its power to beguile and entertain, and it also preserves fascinating scenes of the Paris of 1907, before world wars and other plagues of the Twentieth Century changed the city forever.
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