Cruel and Unusual Comedy, Part 3: Selections from the Eye Film Institute, The Netherlands
March 15–28, 2012
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film, accompanist and film historian Ben Model, and film historian Steve Massa.
Yamaha Modus H1 piano generously provided through Yamaha Artist Services, New York.
Related Film Screenings
Program 1: Sexual Misconduct
La lune de miel de Zigoto
1912. France. Directed by Jean Durand. A Gaumont production. With Lucien Bataille. In the grip of passionate foreplay, Zigoto and his lover are oblivious to an escalating series of interruptions and catastrophes going on around them. 6 min.
Signora Robinet (aka Madamigella Robinet)
1912. Italy. Directed by Marcel Perez (as Marcel Fabre). An Ambrosio production. With Fabre, Nilde Barrachi. Robinet disguises himself as a woman to get away from his girlfriend’s husband, and discovers the unexpected pleasures of public drag amidst mobs of flirtatious men. 7 min.
Robinet troppo amato da sua moglie (aka Robinet wordt te veel bemind)
1912. Italy. Directed by Marcel Perez (as Marcel Fabre). An Ambrosio production. With Fabre, Gigetta Morano. Robinet escapes from his wife’s smothering devotion to the adventure of lovemaking outside marriage. 7 min.
1912. Italy. Director unknown. An Italia production. In this early mother-in-law comedy, a bride’s mother insists on managing the private lives of the newly married couple—to the point of sleeping with them. 8 min.
Al cinematografo guardate…. ma non toccate
1912. Italy. Director unknown. An Italia production. A cinema becomes the site of sexual intrigue when a man looking for romance in the dark follows a woman into the movies and finds himself molesting her husband instead. 6 min.
Cunégonde femme crampon (aka Cunegonde wil niet dat d’r man alleen uitgaat)
1912. France. Director unknown. A Lux production. An insanely jealous wife locks up her husband, lassos him on the street from a second-story window, and ships herself to him in a trunk when he leaves home. 9 min.
1912. Italy. Directed by Eleuterio Rodolfi. An Ambrosio production. With Gigetta Morano, Rodolfi. In this sophisticated romantic comedy, healing waters are the cover for an extramarital affair that “cures” the infertility problems of a childless couple. 9 min.
Program approx. 52 min.
Program 2: Science Fiction
1912. France. Directed by Jean Durand. A Gaumont production. With Ernest Bourbon, Gaston Modot. In an effort to hasten a promised inheritance, Onésime invents a time machine that speeds up activity on earth, hyper-animates men and machines, telescopes the human life-cycle, and threatens the course of the universe. 7 min.
La police de l’an 2000
1910. France. Director unknown. A Gaumont production. With Eugene Breon, Clement Mige, Marcel Perez (as Marcel Fabre From a futuristic airship, the French police stop crime, arrest criminals, and catch dogs without touching the ground. 7 min.
Ein neuer erwerbszweig (aka Een niewe werkkring)
1912. Germany. Director unknown. A Messters Projection GmbH production. In this Georges Méliès-esque fantasy, a love doctor successfully produces men on order for needy women, until his system for delivering them—through the mail, as puppets in canisters—goes awry. 8 min.
Auch faulheit kann von nutze sein (aka Een modern broedmachine)
1912. Germany. Director unknown. A Deutsche Mutoscope und Bioscope GmbH production. In a twist on the “Baby Incubator” phenomenon of the age, a fall into a slop pit gives a heavyweight farmer the power to incubate chicken eggs on his belly, much to the delight and advantage of his neighbors. 6 min.
Bobby als aviatiker
1911. Germany. Director unknown. A Messters Projection GmbH production. High on the new fad for flying, a reckless enthusiast constructs an airplane from home furnishings and sails out the window, sending country folk into spasms, and splintering himself into a pile of body parts. 4 min.
Amour et Science
1911. France. Directed by Gaston Leprieur. An Éclair production. With Yvette Andreyor, Gabriel Signoret, Renee Sylvaire. A work-obsessed inventor uses a video-telephone to spy on his girlfriend, who in turn uses film to teach him a lesson. 15 min.
Program approx. 47 min.
Program 3: Mass Destruction
Le bateau de Léontine
1911. France. Directed by Romeo Bosetti. A Comica production. With Sarah Duhamel. Left at home alone, a little girl determined to play with her father’s toy yacht floods an apartment building. 5 min.
Polycarpe commis d’architect
1913. France. Directed by Ernest Servaes. An Eclipse production. With Edouard Pinto. Accident-prone Polycarpe wreaks havoc on a construction site—a popular location for so many early film comedies. 6 min.
Singe de Pétronille (aka De aap van Petronella)
1913. France. Directed by Romeo Bosetti. An Éclair production. With Sarah Duhamel. A robust housekeeper loses control of her new pet monkey, and it quickly trashes her middle-class employer’s home. 7 min.
Zigoto et la locomotive
1912. France. Directed by Jean Durand. A Gaumont production. With Lucien Bataille, Ernest Bourbon, Alphonse Foucher. When the train workers go on strike, Zigoto terrorizes the town in a hijacked locomotive. 6 min.
Willy roi des concierges
1912. France. Director unknown. An Éclair production. With Willy Sanders. A little boy, left in charge of a Parisian apartment building, goes on a murderous rampage. 5 min.
Gavroch e et Casimir s’entrainent
1913. France. Directed by Romeo Bossetti. An Éclair production. With Paul Bertho, Lucien Bataille. Over-stimulated by boxing lessons, Gavroche brings a lion home to spar with, triggering an all-out assault on public order. 7 min.
Eugénie redresse toi
1911. France. Directed by Jean Durand. A Gaumont production. A large man in drag performs as an awkward young girl whose parents’ attempts to make her more ladylike lead to violent resistance—and the acquisition of a suitor half her size whom she carries away under her arm. 4 min.
Program approx. 40 min.
Program 4: Tales of Madness
Mr. Smith fait l’ouverture
1914. France. Director unknown. A Gaumont production. In this “day of the lupus” farce, anarchy and madness result when a plague of rabbits overrun the country home of an unrepentant hunter. 6 min.
Onésime contre Onésime (A Double Life)
1912. France. Directed by Jean Durand. A Gaumont/Archive Film Agency production. With Ernest Bourbon, Edouard Grisollet, Gaston Modot. When Onésime “doubles” on screen, the battle between his good and evil selves begins. 9 min.
La vengeance des esprits (aka Die rache der geister)
1911. France. Director unknown. A Pathé production. Grotesque animated spirits punish a disbeliever who scorns his wife’s interest in the occult. 5 min.
1913. France. Directed by Romeo Bossetti. A Gaumont production. With Clement Mige. With a stolen divining rod, Calino sets out to “liquefy” the world, one water spout at a time, in this riff on Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. 4 min.
Kri Kri fuma l’oppio (aka Patachon als opiumschuiver)
1913. Italy. Director unknown. A Societa Italiana Cines production. With Raymond Frau. A series of trick film hallucinations and scary doubling effects result when Patachon smokes an opium cigarette. 6 min.
Rigadin n’aime pas le vendredi 13
1911. France. Directed by Georges Monca. A Pathé production. With Charles Prince. Rigadin encounters nothing but trouble on Friday the 13th. 6 min.
L’ abito bianco di Robinet
1911. Italy. Directed by Marcel Perez (as Marcel Fabre). An Ambrosio production. With Fabre. In this play on the symmetry of black and white, Robinet leaves home in his bright new suit for a stroll through a blackening industrial landscape. 4 min.
Program approx. 40 min.
Program 5: Domestic Abuse
Le torchon brûle ou une querelle de ménage
1911. France. Directed by Romeo Bosetti. A Pathé production. With Sarah Duhamel. A couple’s fight over dinner leads to spiraling domestic abuse that spreads all over town. 5 min.
1906. France. Directed by Louis Gasner. A Pathé production. With Max Linder. Suffering from a case of unrequited love, Max hangs himself from a tree—and there he remains for hours while the townspeople decide whose responsibility it is to rescue him. 7 min.
Polycarpe veut faire un carton (aka Polycarpe is aan het schijfschieten)
1913. France. Directed by Ernest Servaes. An Éclair production. With Ernest Servaes. The homeless Polycarpe steals a rifle from some careless society sportsmen and goes on a mindless shooting spree. 4 min.
Bébé soigné son père (aka De vader van Bebe gevoelt zich vervelend ziek)
1912. France. Directed by Louis Feuillade. A Gaumont production. With Rene Dary. A mischievous child feeds his father a laxative, leading to disruptive bouts of intestinal disorder—and an unexpected reward. 9 min.
1912. France. Director unknown. A Lux production. The clown Flippie’s gratitude to a passing stranger goes too far, driving his benefactor to distraction—and dismemberment. 7 min.
Arthème promène son oncle
1913. France. Directed by Ernest Servaes. An Eclipse production. With Ernest Servaes. Artheme takes his elderly uncle for a walk in his wheelchair, but abandons the invalid in the woods overnight when he spots a pretty girl. 6 min.
Little Mortiz demande Rosalie en marriage
1911. France. Directed by Romeo Bossetti. A Pathé production. With Maurice Schwartz, Sarah Duhamel. Wimpy Little Moritz needs to toughen up to win Rosalie, but he ends up smashing everyone and everything in sight when boxing lessons turn him into a mindless fighting machine. 6 min.
Program approx. 42 min.
Program 6: Musical Comedy
Amour et musique (aka Met muzieken en hindernissen)
1911. France. Director unknown. A Pathé/Nizza production. Working apart, a pair of off-key male and female street performers are assaulted by unappreciative music lovers. When an arrest brings them together, they discover their power to make beautiful music. 4 min.
Rosalie et son phonographe (aka Rosalie en haar phonograph)
1911. France. Directed by Romeo Bossetti. A Pathé production. With Sarah Duhamel. A jolly housekeeper brings new meaning to the notion of “home entertainment” with a handsome new portable phonograph that causes people, furniture, and buildings to rock and roll through the magic of stop-motion animation. 4 min.
Grammofono di Polidor (aka Polydor and his gramofono)
1912. Italy. Director unknown. A Pasquali production. With Ferdinand Guillaume. In a scheme that is all the more convincing on silent film, Polydor attempts to fool a high-society mob with a no-talent singer who lip-synchs recordings from a hidden Gramophone. 9 min.
Pik Nik ha il do di petto
1911. Italy. Director unknown. An Aquila production. Singer Pik Nik tests the power of song with an earth-shaking voice that causes people to pass out, walls to collapse, cars to go backwards—and eventually lands him in jail. 5 min.
Robinet innamorato di una chanteuse
1911. Italy. Directed by Marcel Perez (as Marcel Fabre). An Ambrosio production. With Fabre, Gigetta Morano. Robinet brings down the house when he unleashes himself on an attractive opera singer during a music hall performance. 7 min.
La vengeance du sergent de ville
1913. France. Directed by Louis Feuillade. A Gaumont production. With Renee Carl, Suzanne Grandais. A police sergeant’s late-night horn playing dismays neighbors in his apartment building, leading to marital discord, hysteria, and a bizarre form of psychotherapy involving a body double. 13 min.
Program approx. 42 min.