Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
11 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A Wonderfully Imaginative Piece
jasminemoore8114 May 2006
I absolutely loved this short film. We viewed this in my Avant Garde class, and I laughed my butt off. This isn't your typical comedy, it was before its time. The dancing hats were great! This Dada comedy is one of the funniest I have seen. I am really enjoying learning about the Dada movement. If you get the chance to see this slip stick film, don't pass it up. There is a great rhythm to this film. Everything in the frames comes in the same numbers, the men, the hats, etc. It is just fun to watch. Wonderfuly funny German film, resembles a Charlie Chaplin film. Hans Richter did a great job with this slapstick. Jasmine OIP&T
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Comic avant-garde film
Red-Barracuda17 September 2010
Ghosts Before Breakfast is a light-hearted and playful Dada film. Its imaginative images come at you in a nice steady rhythm. Those visuals incorporate a fair amount of trick photography and effects, and they are all done really well. The most indelible image in the film is the flying hats but there are many other repeat motives, such as revolvers and beard stroking intellectuals. Like Dada in general, there is a definite sense of humour. At times it's almost in slapstick territory. I suppose if Charlie Chaplin was to have made a Dada film then it might have looked something like this. Overall, this is a good example of a 1920's art-film with a comic touch. And like so many of its peers it easy to see its influence on modern Pop Art. Interesting to also note that the Nazi Party tried to destroy all copies of this film when the got into power in Germany not long after this was made. They considered it decadent - this should be taken as a recommendation.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
an imaginative, whimsical film
FilmGrrl-222 October 1999
I was fortunate enough to see this short film in my Cinematic Expression class. It's a wonderfully creative, dadaist film and if given the chance, you should definitely see it. Through four-way symmetry and insane flying bowler hats, Han Ritter creates a highly creative dream world that I quite enjoyed.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not really spooky
Horst_In_Translation4 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Ghosts Before Breakfast" or "Vormittagsspuk" is a German short film that runs slightly over 6 minutes. As this one was made almost 90 years ago, it is still silent and black-and-white. Sound films and color were still fairly rare back at this point. It is a solid experimental movie. I may be a bit biased as I am not that big on the genre of experimentalism in movies, but some of the visual effects and camera tricks (relapse, acceleration) made for a decent watch. Still, I must say it is basically the same what Méliès has done 30 years earlier already, only with better material and advanced technology, but not really with innovative idea except maybe 2 or 3 scenes. All in all, a fairly mediocre watch and I can't recommend it.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Would make a good music video for Devo
plaidpotato19 July 2002
Hans Richter and his crew must have had a lot of fun making this film. It's equal parts slapstick and Dada. I saw it in a theater as part of a program of 20s surrealist/Dadaist films, and this one was definitely the crowd favorite. It had everybody laughing. I wouldn't be surprised if this film were a big influence on a lot of modern music video directors. For some reason, the imagery put me somewhat in mind of a certain old Devo song. Would go well with the Talking Heads, too.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the more whimsical art films you can see.
MartinHafer5 April 2014
If I had to pick one art film to watch, it would be Hans Richter's "Ghost Before Breakfast". This is unusual because it's not his entire film-- just a six minute portion that somehow avoided being destroyed by the Nazis--who felt that the film was decadent and anti-German! Huh?! What pin-heads! Additionally, the original sound is missing, though the music accompanying it now seems very fitting and works very well.

The film has no traditional narrative whatsoever--which is true of almost all art films!! Instead, tons of tiny film clips are edited together in a manner that might look random--but as a whole they work together very well. The overall effect is actually quite whimsical and charming-- something you rarely would say about an art film. I loved watching the flying derbies, the spinning clock hands and the like! Weird and kind of fun.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Breakfast Ghosts.
morrison-dylan-fan4 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
With having enjoyed director Hans Richter's Filmstudie,I started searching round for other work by Richter,and found a movie which had almost been lost.

The plot:

Four bowler hats fly in the sky as a man puts on a tie,and a gunshot causes a man's head to fly in the air.

View on the film:

Barely surviving an attempt by the Nazis to completely destroy the film, (who destroyed the original soundtrack) director Hans Richter gives the title a surprisingly light comedic touch,thanks to Ritcher showing a real joy in making everything from hats to human heads act in the opposite manner they are supposed to.Putting everything up in the air,Ritcher casts a delightfully off-beat atmosphere,thanks to stylishly overlapping photos with snappy stop-motion images to reveal all the ghosts before breakfast.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki30 May 2014
Dada. Surreal. Experimental. Avant garde. Weird. Yet I couldn't stop watching. Watching. Watch. Stop watch. Stopwatch moving in time lapse photography; is the message here that time flies when one is having fun? Are we supposed to be having fun here? Bowler hats flying through the air turn into tea cups immediately before they land and crash into pieces.

Bow ties and handguns and x-rays of handguns with minds of their own.

I like the bits with the fire hoses, and the concentric circles, bull's eyes, which don't want to be shot at. And who can blame them? Bearded men stroking their beards and their negative images doing likewise.

Is the plot everyday items rebelling against everyday routine, or just excuses to show trick photography? Making art out of something ugly? Anti art? The clock strikes twelve, splits into two even pieces. Ende. Ende. Ende neu.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
GHOSTS BEFORE BREAKFAST {Short} (Hans Richter, 1928) **1/2
Bunuel197615 January 2014
This is a nonsense short but, at least, has a welcome surreal touch to it (though the official label would be "Dadaist") – unlike the other "avant-garde" films I watched at the same time…which were mostly highbrow and, frankly, anti-entertainment!

Reportedly, this was originally accompanied by a soundtrack which was destroyed by the Third Reich when it rose to power as an example of "degenerate art"; since here we get to see usually inanimate, albeit extremely innocent-looking, objects (such as hats and shirt collars) springing to life and refusing to blindly 'acquiesce' to their masters' whims, the oppressive socio-political connotations were immediately apparent to the Nazi regime!

Other memorable images that were later imitated by artists of even greater renown than its maker are those involving a number of persons disappearing behind a lamp-post (a trademark of Tex Avery cartoons) and the one where a male group unaccountably loses its set of full-grown beards to the womenfolk (which Luis Buñuel would 'borrow' for disparate effect in his first two own "avant-garde" but infinitely superior efforts)!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Domestic Insanity
ackstasis8 December 2008
Well, I'm pretty much speechless. Avant-garde cinema often does that to me. What can I say? What can I possibly say about a film that features eerie floating bowler hats terrorising a group of young businessmen? Director Hans Richter developed a reputation for bizarre, abstract film-making, and I can certainly say that 'Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928)' fits the bill nicely. There's a certain charm to it – a rhythmic editing tempo that retains its momentum throughout the running time, even if there appears to be little apparent connection between the wacky visual sequences with which Richter presents us. The best way to describe the film is that it presents ordinary-looking household objects behaving in peculiar ways, whether that be the levitating hats, the disappearing beards, the self-spooling fire hose or the rickety ladder that doesn't lead to anywhere. Whether the director is trying to make some sort of obscure philosophical point, or simply having fun with all manner of optical trickery, fans of the surreal will surely relish this brief snippet of domestic insanity.

Richter uses stop-motion animation extensively, it being one of the simplest ways to simulate motion. The result of this technique is movement that is oddly fractured and dream-like, a warped reality that doesn't quite make rational sense {director Norman McLaren also recognised how disorientatingly-unreal this pixilation technique feels, and later used it to interesting effect in his own short film, 'Neighbours (1952)'}. The flying hats are probably dangling on wires, though I couldn't spot any, and it must have taken a lot of practice to perform the aerial motion without tangling the support lines. Also present in the director's bag of tricks are numerous double-exposures, cross-fades and blurred photography. Richter delights in toying with the concept of time, frequently repeating the same shots over and over – sometimes reversed, sometimes sped up, sometimes slowed down – such that the characters' movements lead nowhere. Is he implying something about our everyday dependence upon trivial household possessions, and that we can't get anywhere without them? Well, I don't know; I just thought it was zany.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bizarre Little Piece
gavin694219 July 2011
Hans Richter, noted for his abstract shorts, has everyday objects rebelling against their daily routine.

This film was apparently destroyed by the Nazis, with only some copies escaping without sound. And what a strange film it is. Maybe not the sensually decadent picture the Nazis thought it was, but weird. I can see Dali or Lynch finding a compatriot in Richter.

Is there a message here? I do not know. Looks more like just a man having fun with his actors and a camera, but what do I know? I do know one thing: I have to look more into the films of Hans Richter, because they are just my style.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed