5.9/10
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9 user 2 critic

The Poachers (1903)

A Desperate Poaching Affray (original title)
Three hunters surprise two poachers in the act. The hunters take umbrage and give chase over fences and through fields. The hunters fire away, but the poachers have guns as well, and a ... See full summary »

Director:

William Haggar
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Cast

Credited cast:
Sid Griffiths Sid Griffiths ... Second Poacher
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Will Haggar Jr. Will Haggar Jr. ... First Poacher
Walter Haggar Walter Haggar ... First Gamekeeper
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Storyline

Three hunters surprise two poachers in the act. The hunters take umbrage and give chase over fences and through fields. The hunters fire away, but the poachers have guns as well, and a fight ensues with casualties for the hunters. Two cops appear and so do dogs as the chase continues. Will the poachers escape, or will they, like the game they were after, be trapped? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Drama | Short

User Reviews

 
Fierce social critique framed as exciting thriller.
15 March 2001 | by the red duchessSee all my reviews

Unlikely as it might seem, this knockabout farmyard shootout is a precursor to the forbiddingly austere cinema of Robert Bresson - in its use of non-professional actors; and in its opening poaching scene, repeated in the master's 'Mouchette'. And, although this marvellous film is full of vivid action, brutal fisticuffs, fiery shootouts, and pond dunkings, with the breathless cast effectively tumbling the audience into the drama by hurling themselves in our direction, its vision of rural life is as bleak as Bresson's, an anti-pastoral in which the immemorial, supposedly natural and calm countryside becomes a frightening labyrinth of violence, power and murder.

The film shows how a couple of harmless poachers are turned by circumstance into killers, a circumstance needlessly engineered by the forces of reaction. The boys only want to steal a bit of grub, it's not as if the landlord would miss it; but the minute they step onto his land, they are chased by class-traitor labourers and then the police.

it would be wrong to call this Kafkaesque - they are clearly guilty - but this proliferation of law-defenders is nightmarish. They manage to use their ironically superior knowledge of someone else's land to evade capture; but eventually, like the Soviets at Stalingrad, sheer, faceless numbers win through. The momentum of the action, the harsh vibrancy of the sun-whipped landscape, and the gusto of the actors all create a sense of fun and exhiliration that is at the same time harrowing.

It would be pompous to ascribe social critique to such a venture, but there is something very, very wrong about the propertied classes and their stoolies here.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

None

Release Date:

31 October 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Poachers See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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