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What Is Seen Through a Keyhole (1901)

Par le trou de la serrure (original title)
A hotel porter tries in his spare time to find out the secrets of the guests in looking through the keyholes of the different rooms. He must see very funny things, judging from his facial expressions.

Director:

Ferdinand Zecca
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Storyline

By using the eyeline match editing formula to follow a character's gaze to objects, places or persons, as well as a key-hole shaped stencil cutout in front of the camera, the director, Ferdinand Zecca, plays with the titillating theme of voyeurism and the pleasure of peeping into the forbidden. On the upper floor of a small hotel, a naughty worker is tempted to peer through the keyholes of four different rooms to shamelessly take a glimpse of the tenants' secret lives. Who knows what surprises will be unveiled? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

eye | key | keyhole | hotel | inn | See All (64) »

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

May 1902 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Happened to the Inquisitive Janitor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pathé Frères See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

An Interesting Combination of Techniques & Ideas
22 September 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This is relatively amusing in its own right, but it is more interesting for the variety of ideas and techniques contained in such a short film. It combines one of the earliest experiments in using a point-of-view camera perspective with some of the earliest cinematic observations on voyeurism and related themes.

The story starts with a janitor in a hotel deciding to take a look at what is going on inside some of the rooms, and then it goes on from there. The variety of the things that he sees makes it hard not to be reminded of James Stewart watching his neighbors in "Rear Window", and while this one is a light-hearted comedy rather than a serious thriller, both pictures in their own ways suggest some of the same basic themes.

This is also interesting as one of a number of creative movies by Ferdinand Zecca, one of the less celebrated pioneers of cinema. He worked in several different genres, and often made interesting experiments with what were then new techniques. Besides witty light features like this one, he also made fantasy pictures and somber dramas. As this movie illustrates, he brought talent and imagination to most of his movies.


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