Les Victimes De L'alcoolisme

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A moralizing tale of intemperance. First of numerous adaptations of the novel 'L'Assommoir' (1877), by Émile Zola

Online: Internet Archive

Despite its story - of the type hilariously parodied in W.C. Fields' The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933) - the film is still impressive, featuring:

  • An early use of expository intertitles
  • An extended opening shot that establishes the "Interieur du ménage ouvrier, heureux et prospère": the worker's happy and prosperous home (although his slovenly personal hygiene seems a fatal flaw as bad as booze: coming in off the mean streets of the early industrial era, and immediately sitting down to dinner without washing hands - ugh! But the film is not titled "Victims of Slovenly Personal Hygiene", so that has to be overlooked).
  • A street scene and tavern scene that somewhat capture the feel of the actual locations, even though they were obviously shot on sets. Unfortunately, as with too many films of this era, the sets dwarf the actors, who never occupy more than half the screen height.

And all capped with an over the top performance of a delirium tremens attack (undoubtedly worsened by his slovenly personal hygiene) - for a full 1.2 minutes (that feels like hours).