Works by Gaumont (30)

The Pickpocket

Man picks pocket, cops chase: a simple premise, developed to become a pioneering work in the genre of hilarious 'so-bad-it's-good' cinema.

How Monsieur Takes His Bath (Comment monsieur prend son bain)

Man finds it impossible to undress for bed, because new clothes magically keep appearing on him. Remake of 'Going to Bed Under Difficulties (Le Déshabillage impossible)'.

Raid on a Coiner's Den

After an intriguing emblematic shot, the coiners are shown hard at work, though at least one is a bit jittery. His fear turns out to be a premonition, as the heat swarms in while the coiners are out. Strangely, the leader of the raid then trades in his supervisory role to go undercover in the den. But when he tries to make the arrest, he shows us why he should've stuck to supervising, as he botches the raid by letting the coiners get the drop on him.

That was an exciting plot twist, but the film failed to build upon that tension, and instead rushes to wrap up the whole affair (via a chase that's almost too brief to be called that) just two minutes later. Promising start but no delivery, so we're left with a botched film about a botched raid on a coiner's den.

The True Jiu-Jitsu (Le Vrai Jiu-Jitsu)

The Phonoscène was an antecedent of music video and is regarded as a forerunner of sound film. It combined a sound recording with a film shot with actors lip-synching to the sound recording. The recording and film were synchronized by a mechanism ('Chronophone') patented by Léon Gaumont in 1902.

The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ (La naissance, la vie et la mort du Christ)

The birth, life and death of Christ, in 25 scenes. This is what an epic looked like in 1906. Intertitles only provide the name of the scene. And the story is dramatized with minimal pantomime, that is recorded by a static and distant camera, thus giving the effect of paintings come to life. So those of us not already familiar with the story probably will be left clueless during most scenes.

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.

The Game-Keeper's Son (Le Fils du garde chasse)

The game-keeper's son witnesses his father's death while chasing a poacher, then picks up the pursuit himself. Interestingly, it's not clear whether the father is murdered, or dies accidentally after failing to stop in time - and then the same ambiguity occurs again at the end.

The Truth Behind the Ape-Man (La vérité sur l'homme-singe)

Notable for an early use of inter-cutting for comic effect (in a running gag), and the manic performance of the uncredited lead as ape-man (shades of Harpo). Also impressed by how efffective the wordless storytelling was. Or maybe not: almost all the online reviews I read were either baffled or off the mark. But if you're feeling the need for clues, there's a detailed breakdown at:

The Irresistible Piano (Le Piano Irresistible)

Dance fever - the musical version of the incremental chase. Max Linder films used a scaled-down version of this gag at least twice. Like other Alice Guy comedies, mostly it's the unrestrained comic flair of the anonymous (uncredited) performers that elevates this from a simple gag to delightful madness.

The Glue (La Glu)

Just another romantic tale of boy meets glue.

Madam's Fancies/Madame's Cravings (Madame a des envies)

This shows that pregnancy is an opportunity for a woman to ruthlessly indulge every passing fancy. But her jones, can break his bones - partners beware! Uses medium shots within the narrative, in a way similar to the 1903 'Mary Jane's Mishap.'