A Sticky Woman (La femme collante)

When man kisses maid, whose mouth is used for affixing postage stamps, their lips become glued. Elevates a silly gag to a grim social satire.

Lacking detailed history of the early films, in general it's impossible to say who or where ideas originated. But, in this case, it is easy to say where an idea thrived, in comparing this with Pathé's 1906 Lèvres collées (Joined Lips):

  • In the Pathé version, the maid is clearly unhappy with her stamp-licking task. In Guy's version, the maid dutifully obeys, showing no sign of protest (which is actually even more disturbing).
  • In the Pathé film, the man seems excited about the maid's figure. In Guy's version, the man is attracted by the maid's tongue and licking.
  • The Pathé man and maid are lovers, and the kiss is consensual. In Guy's version, the man first arrives with someone who appears to be his wife. The maid does not appear to be acquainted with the man and rejects his advances. The man attacks her, despite her protests.
  • In Guy's version, after the maid is stuck to the man who attacked her, she gets a beating from the man's wife. When the mistress sees her maid's troubles, she seems to disavow the maid by repeatedly turning her gaze away, and offers no assistance.
While the Pathé version offers only a single silly gag, Guy's version presents class conflict/exploitation, sexual arousal, marital infidelity, sexual assault, and a victim who is first exploited, then sexually assaulted, and finally beaten and abandoned - merely because she serves her mistress. In short, Guy's version presents a grim social satire - in just over two minutes. The humor is mainly in the man's lecherous reactions to the maid's duties.

Related:

Joined Lips (Lèvres Collées)

When man kisses maid, whose mouth is used for affixing postage stamps, their lips become glued. Only interesting as a benchmark for Alice Guy-Blaché's superior version, 'A Sticky Woman (La femme collante)', which elevates this silly gag to a grim social satire.

View...