In front of a flour mill, two men fight. One is the miller, and he's swinging a bag of flour in the scuffle. The other is a chimney sweep, and he's swinging what may be a bag of flour, but ... See full summary »
It's Christmas Eve. The miser Scrooge and his assistant Bob Cratchit finish their work in the office and go home. When Scrooge is going to open his front door, he sees the face of Marley's ... See full summary »
The famous acrobats in the above title appear in a marvellous acrobatic act. There are three barrels arranged on the stage. The boys, blindfolded, stand on opposite sides of the stage, and ... See full summary »
jovial looking man is seated nearest the window of a restaurant. He has just finished his meal and the waiter brings a glass of beer, and when he places the glass upon the table, lo, a ... See full summary »
A winner and sure to please. In front of one of the largest newspaper offices is a hot air shaft through which immense volumes of air are forced by a blower. Ladies in crossing this shaft ... See full summary »
The subtitle, "The Medium Exposed", to the question that is this film's title "Is Spiritualism a Fraud?" quickly provides the filmmakers' answer to their own question. Furthermore, the film's first scene is of a séance interrupted and its trickery exposed. In it, the medium has himself tied to a chair and the lights turned out. His assistant, who had been hiding in a box, then performs tricks that supposedly liken themselves to the appearance of spirits. One of the customers, however, turns the lights back on during this fraud, and the customers quickly retaliate. The medium's assistant flees the scene, while the bound medium is nailed inside the box and taken to the side of a curb. From here, two policemen discover the bound medium. This is where the film's punishment becomes even more outrageous; the policemen proceed to parade the bound medium down a street to further humiliate him and, one assumes, to serve as a warning to other spiritualist mediums.
Spiritualism is bunk, but nonetheless has continued to this day and has even made its way onto television. Moreover, many faiths have incorporated parts of spiritualism even if they don't believe in the entertainment field of séances and mediums. Yet, regardless of such frauds, the punishment dealt out in this film is outrageous and unjust. I wonder whether the filmmaker's meant the film as comedic, because this punishment is just too absurdly violent, but to my eyes, the film doesn't seem to be intended as comedy. Additionally, no matter what the filmmakers intended, it raises the question of the film's potential to incite the violence similar to that fictionally depicted. But, that is still a contentious debate today.
Otherwise, this is a well-constructed film for 1906. Action is continuous across five scenes, and the transition between interiors to exteriors is fluid. There are even some brief tracking shots at the end, which is noticeable because not many of the remaining films from Paul's Animatograph Works displays a mobile camera. Besides, today, we can view this as a weird early film; for that, it's somewhat interesting in itself.
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