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I.B. Dam and the Whole Dam Family (1905)

One at a time, we meet eight members of the Dam family. I.B. Dam is a beleaguered patriarch, mopping his brow and sneezing. Mrs. Hellen Dam is loquacious. Jimmy Dam is a dandy, smoking and ... See full summary »
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One at a time, we meet eight members of the Dam family. I.B. Dam is a beleaguered patriarch, mopping his brow and sneezing. Mrs. Hellen Dam is loquacious. Jimmy Dam is a dandy, smoking and smirking. Miss U.B. Dam, a damsel of perhaps 20, fixes her hair and puts on a fancy hat. Miss I.P. Dam is still a kid, prancing in her new outfit. Baby Dam rubs his eyes. The Dam Cook cleans and dries a pot, and the Dam Dog leaves his post to exit stage right. It's the whole Dam family. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

8 July 1905 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

S. Lubin See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Available for purchase in 1905 for $16.50. See more »

Connections

Follows The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog (1905) See more »

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User Reviews

A Mixed Bag Remake
7 June 2019 | by Tornado_SamSee all my reviews

"I.B. Dam and the Whole Dam Family" is the Sigmund Lubin company's remake of the more well-known Edison film, "The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog", made the exact same year as the former. Apparently an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the original, it is not a bad remake at all despite what fans of the original might say but when making a comparison with both shorts, there are downsides and improvements to be noticed between the two.

The unknown director of this short clearly wanted it to be different on a certain level, both in originality and in structure. "I.B. Dam and the Whole Dam Family" is, in the first place, much much cheaper and more quickly done than its predecessor. With the original, Edwin Porter--the director--obviously took his time deciding on what actors to use to play the parts. The Lubin remake hardly took the time to choose good actors, and as a result came up with lesser performances for the roles. For example, the Mr. I.B. Dam of the original was chosen for a much more humorous effect, in his comical facial expressions as he sneezes. Here, all Mr. Dam does is give a few casual yet hardly comical sneezes and wipes his brow with no particular effort on making an amusing performance. The Jimmy Dam here hardly tries to look like the smokin' dandy played by William Courtenay in the original, who fit the part to perfection in his casual smugness. Miss U.B. Dam does not play her part to look like a frustrated woman messing with her hair, but rather cheerfully adjusts it before putting on her hat. Lastly, Baby Dam in this short is too old to be a baby, and wipes his eyes a few times instead of opening the floodgates like the much more fitting actor in the original did.

In terms of pacing, though, this Lubin film is done a lot better. Each shot of each person is not dragged out for thirty seconds like before; the performances are brief and keep the film moving. The original is thus a little blander in that regard despite the better actors. Furthermore, the company chose to make each person pose inside a large picture frame for their shot, which makes the camera farther away but at the same time makes this aspect of each actor being in a moving portrait more appealing. (The closer shots for the original, however, work much better for the funnier expressions the actors give). And there is plenty of originality as well, for instance replacing certain characters with others. Instead of naming the Mrs. "Herself" like the postcard both shorts are based on did, she is given the name of Mrs. Hellen Dam for whatever reason. Lizzie Dam and Annie Dam are both removed entirely, and replaced with a young girl called Miss I.P. Dam as well as a "Dam Cook" who scrubs a pot. Lastly, the entire sequence with the family dog is taken out, and we're instead treated to a brief shot of a very cute white dog sitting on a cushion in the frame before diving off. This last part was done very well, it adds a nice touch and it makes the dog a much more lovable character than before because of being featured in closeup.

For some reason, the Kino International company completely mixed up the shorts when they released their "Movies Begin" set. This film is mistakenly identified as the original in Volume One despite a very obvious difference between both. As it is, "I.B. Dam and the Whole Dam Family" is a mixed bag in comparison with the original, but does contain a good amount of originality and is a decent work when taken on its own.


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