Works, By Duration: 4-5 minutes (42)

Total: 347 works

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.

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.'

The Cleaning Man (Le Frotteur)

Fans of Rik Mayall/Ade Edmondson's brand of 'full-on destruction' comedy will bow down in homage to this pioneering work of riotous excess.

The Race for the Sausage (Course a la saucisse)

Dog goes for sausage, town goes after dog. Similar to Pathé's 'The Policemen's Little Run' (released the same year), but towers over the competition in scoring for PPM (Pratfalls Per Minute).

The Torn Trousers/In A Difficult Position (Mon Pantalon Est Décousu)

Max uses finesse to try to hide a rip in his trousers during a dance. This is quintessential Max: the dapper and loveable upper-class twit whose efforts to impress ladies crash and burn while he tries to keep face, in the modern man's dilemma of maintaining the delusion of stability as his world falls apart.

Max Goes Skiing (Max Fait Du Ski)

A showcase of the art of the pratfall, harking back to the debut of Max.

Runaway Match/Marriage by Motor

Papa's attempt to bring back his eloping daughter is foiled by car troubles, in what is credited as the first (extremely brief) film car chase. But everyone's happy in the end. In between we get this close shot of hands and not much else. It seems odd to say a 5-minute film was too long, but watching the clock was more entertaining than watching the film. Thankfully, the added music is gorgeous.

The Child Stealers

Some kids are snatched, one is rescued, the rest - who knows, who cares?

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 Strenuous Life, Or, Anti-Race Suicide

A satirical answer to President Teddy Roosevelt's call for Anglo-Saxon women to keep up with the birth rate of ethnic minorities, or risk 'race suicide'. Mike Judge's 2006 'Idiocracy' essentially makes the same call, and is considered a 'cult classic'. Maybe Teddy's call was ridiculed just because it was ahead of its time.

Le Costume Blanc

André Deed was one of film's first comedy stars yet, unfortunately, films like this might leave modern viewers wondering why. Deed's face is seldom visble, and the camera frequently lingers after he is out of frame.

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.

A Little Hero

Mabel in a mercifully short all-animal remake of Rescued By Rover (1905).

Rastus Among The Zulus

Surprise - no actors in blackface here! When Rastus falls asleep, racial violence lurks as a trio armed with sticks sneak up on him. Then Rastus does the Atlantic slave trade in rewind: he is forced on a ship and ends up in Africa. No surprise that he ends up in a cannibal stewpot (even though Zulus were the only Africans that Europeans explicitly declared to be not only not cannibals, but fiercely anti-cannibalism - despite causing the famines that led to cannibalism. But you didn't expect a Rastus - aka 'coon' - flick to be historically accurate, did you?). Rastus' abduction and forced labor on the route of the slave trade ends with him being beaten by a cop. Could there be a hidden message here?

Lanka Dahan

Five minutes of a weeping heroine, a mustache-twirling villain, and a monkey-faced voyeur hanging from trees in his underpants: who could ask for anything more?