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Whimsical People (1908)

Les lunatiques (original title)
A Pierriette, standing near a crescent moon, snatches five pink suits from the air, and shaking each, it becomes a clown, who seats himself on the moon. In military unison they push their ... See full summary »

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A Pierriette, standing near a crescent moon, snatches five pink suits from the air, and shaking each, it becomes a clown, who seats himself on the moon. In military unison they push their faces through a series of grimaces, and then leaning forward too far, they all go falling down from the moon. It is a long drop, but they reach some kind of bottom and there they execute a peculiar dance; as each jumps over the other in a game of leap-frog, he is transformed into a grotesquely attired negro minstrel, and from that guise into that of a Chinaman. Several dances, in the course of which they also change to girls, follow each other, after which, coming back to their own again, the five clowns begin to fall upward, and are soon back on the moon again. Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Comedy

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21 March 1908 (USA)  »

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Whimsical People  »

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(hand-colored)|

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1.33 : 1
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And Dance By the Light of the Moon
10 June 2010 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Segundo de Chomon directs one of his Melies knock-offs here, using the higher production values afforded by Pathe's greater financial clout, as some players first rise to the stagy crescent moon, then fall to the earth, doing a chorus dance while they transform to different people, including chorines in blackface.

It's amusing, but the time for this sort of pure trick film was passing along with its stage grammar. Cuts and crane shots were already part of the standard film grammar, but not for this sort of film..... perhaps the reason why straightforward non-fantastic camera-work remained still and fairly stage-center for the next hundred years: it seems somehow much more real to the film-goer.


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