Film: 2561

Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W


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Fairy tale of the pied piper of Hamlyn. (part one)

Intertitle “The river Weser, deep and wide, washes its walls on the southern side; A pleasanter spot you never spied; But, when begins my ditty, To see the townsfolk suffer so From vermin, was a pity”. 2 workers emerge through a gate and wander along the cobbled streets chatting away. 2 men are talking in a doorway when a mouse scurries across the mat and the one kicks it away. An old bearded gentleman sits trying to sleep in his chair, continually being disturbed by something, he has 3 large rats sat on him. A goat is lying in a doorway but has a rat stood on him so gets up quickly and walks away. Intertitle “ Rats! They bit the babies in the cradles”. A baby is shown in a basket, the rat climbs up and the baby begins to cry in pain, the mother walks in, picking the rat up by it’s tail and throwing it across the room, she then proceeds to comfort her child. Intertitle “ And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles”. Cook brings a pot onto the side from off the fire, scoops up a ladle and places it down to cool, she then carries a basket of bread away, the rats eat the soup from in the ladle. Intertitle “ They made their nests inside men’s Sunday hats;”. A mother rat with her young babies are making themselves at home within a hat. Intertitle “ And even spoiled the women’s chats By drowning their speaking With shrieking and squeaking In fifty different sharps and flats.” Women appear to be at work, carrying out various tasks and chatting away, one spots something and picks up a broom to get rid of the pest, the others react to the rats presence and one even stands on a chair to avoid them. The inside of a cupboard has rats on every shelf, running in, around and over all of the plates and cups. The women continue with their work, busily chatting away, it appears the rats have disappeared for now. Intertitle “ At last the people in a body To the Town Hall came flocking : - “. Townsfolk large and small all hurry to the Town Hall. Intertietle “ Where the Mayor and his Corporation were conferring.” The Mayor and his Corporation sit around a table discussing things in a leisurely manner. The townsfolk are getting impatient outside, shouting and waving their fists in the air. The Mayor notices this, gets up and walks over to the window, peering outside. The townspeople continue to shout and wave things in the air to get the attention of those inside. The Mayor turns and laughs, pointing to the villagers outside the window. The townsfolk continue with their protest. The Mayor and his Corporation get up and leave to go outside. The villagers make a path for them to get through once they hear them coming, Mayor is spoken to by a man from the village. Intertitle “ Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking For you must determine What best to rid us of our vermin, Or sure as fate we’ll send you packing!”. The Mayor shakes his head and addresses the crowd before turning and heading back inside. The townspeople gradually file away across the wooden bridge. The Mayor and his Corporation walk single file up a set of stairs. The rest of the villagers walk off, discussing things with each other. The Mayor and Corporation sit down at the table again, they discuss matters. Intertitle “ An hour they sat in council.” They all sit and prey that the rats will go away, looking up at the ceiling as they do so. A rat sticks his head out of a jar. The Corporation continue to pray, one of them reading from a book, possibly the Bible, he shakes his head and turns over the page. Intertitle “ At length the Mayor broke the silence. It’s easy to bid one rack one’s brain I’m sure my poor head aches again; I’ve scratched it so, and all in vain.” They continue to discuss around the table. A small rat begins to make it’s way up somebody’s leg. A man in a checked coat makes his way quietly up the stairs. The Mayor starting to stress about the situation stands up with his hands on his head. Intertitle “ Just as he said this, what should hap At his chamber door but a gentle tap?”. The cloaked man knocks at the door. The Mayor suddenly sits up and calls for the person to enter. Intertitle “ Come in! “ – the Mayor cried, looking bigger;”. The Mayor turns to look towards the door. Intertitle “ And in did come the strangest figure!”. The cloaked man entered the room, all at the table turn to look at him, he takes off his hat and bows to the Mayor, he then approaches the table. Intertitle “ Please, your Honours, said he, I’m able, By means of a secret charm, to draw All creatures after me, as you never saw.” Pied Piper looks around the table, Mayor looking at him as though not believing him, Piper continues with his explanation. Intertitle “ And I chiefly use my charm On creatures that do people harm The mole and toad and newt and viper And people call me the Pied Piper.” Mayor and his Corporation discuss between themselves what the Piper has just suggested when the Piper brings out his pipe and gives a small demonstration. Intertitle “ If I can rid your town of rats, will you give me a thousand guilders?” The Mayor looks to him and his jaw drops, all around the table stand to their feet. Intertitle “ One? Fifty thousand!” was the exclamation Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation. The Piper talks to them for a short time then leaves, bowing as he exits. The Corporation sit around the table discussing what has just been said as the Mayor stands by the door watching the Piper walk off. The Piper leaves the building and stands playing his pipe, the nearby villagers don’t appear to pay him too much attention. A cat is poking his head out of a rather small “jail”, little rats running in front of it, he doesn’t pay them a great deal of attention. The piper continues to play his pipe as he slowly walks off. The rats all stop what they are doing and move off. The Piper skips through the street. A lady peers out of her window. A little rat dashes out of a hole in the ground and runs away. The Piper continues down the street. The lady looking out of her window smiles and claps her hands together. The Piper’s feet are shown and he is surrounded by little rats. Piper makes his way along the cobbled street. A lady beckons to her friend to come and see what is happening. The Piper leads the rats through the streets in-between the houses. The 2 ladies look to each other excitedly. The Piper carries on down the street with the rats following behind. The rats disappear around the corner. The Mayor exits the building followed by the Corporation and it utterly shocked, turning back to them to show them what he is seeing, they too share the surprised reaction. The Piper makes his way through the woods, still playing his pipe. The Mayor points with a huge grin on his face and starts to skip off. The townsfolk are all gathering in the square to see what is going on. The Mayor and his Corporation dance around for joy.

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