6.0/10
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6 user 1 critic

What Is Seen Through a Keyhole (1901)

Par le trou de la serrure (original title)
A hotel porter tries in his spare time to find out the secrets of the guests in looking through the keyholes of the different rooms. He must see very funny things, judging from his facial expressions.

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Storyline

As a janitor is cleaning a hotel, he decides to peek through the keyholes to observe some of the guests in their rooms. In room 8, a woman is busy making herself look more attractive, and the janitor enjoys watching her. There are also some interesting things going on in the other rooms on the floor. But the janitor soon finds out that there are also some drawbacks to what he is doing. Written by Snow Leopard

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Short | Comedy

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May 1902 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What Happened to the Inquisitive Janitor  »

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1.33 : 1
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An Interesting Combination of Techniques & Ideas
22 September 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is relatively amusing in its own right, but it is more interesting for the variety of ideas and techniques contained in such a short film. It combines one of the earliest experiments in using a point-of-view camera perspective with some of the earliest cinematic observations on voyeurism and related themes.

The story starts with a janitor in a hotel deciding to take a look at what is going on inside some of the rooms, and then it goes on from there. The variety of the things that he sees makes it hard not to be reminded of James Stewart watching his neighbors in "Rear Window", and while this one is a light-hearted comedy rather than a serious thriller, both pictures in their own ways suggest some of the same basic themes.

This is also interesting as one of a number of creative movies by Ferdinand Zecca, one of the less celebrated pioneers of cinema. He worked in several different genres, and often made interesting experiments with what were then new techniques. Besides witty light features like this one, he also made fantasy pictures and somber dramas. As this movie illustrates, he brought talent and imagination to most of his movies.


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