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Troubles of a Manager of a Burlesque Show (1904)

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Facing a stationary camera, sitting at a desk, a man works busily. Posters of burlesque queens are on the wall behind him. A single woman, followed later by later two others, comes into the... See full summary »

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Facing a stationary camera, sitting at a desk, a man works busily. Posters of burlesque queens are on the wall behind him. A single woman, followed later by later two others, comes into the office seeking a job. The manager hands each a box with a costume in it and points to dressing rooms. Each of the women has a different reaction when she discovers the nature of her costume, and the busy manager has a distinct response to each of the women as well. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Short | Comedy

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January 1904 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Has Pluses And Minuses For Its Time
9 January 2006 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This 'blue' feature from American Mutoscope & Biograph has a couple of technical pluses for its time, while in other ways it could have been better. In an era when film-makers were still learning even the most basic lessons in how to tell a story on the silent screen, this feature does communicate its story clearly, with a few details, and it is mildly successful in playing off of the anticipated perspectives of its audience.

As the title suggests, the story depicts a manager of a burlesque show encountering a series of difficulties with his performers. At least in part, it aims to present the situation in ironic terms, since the man's job is hardly, as the stereotypical male viewpoint might hold, a land of opportunity. In fact, in the movie the manager's job is dreary and frustrating.

This is, honestly, of little entertainment value now, since it is pretty straightforward and bland by even the most basic of today's standards. But it probably did not disappoint too many of its original audiences. It has a little slapstick in it, it's easy to tell what is going on, and it is slightly risqué without coming close to anything that could really offend anyone.

The composition of the scene is general is relatively good, since it succeeds in showing a number of details in the office where the action takes place. During the action sequences, though, some of the movement of the characters is lost at the edges of the camera field. Like many movies of the era, it shows that its film-makers had learned some techniques and were still learning others.


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