Film: 4675

Feature Comedy | 1910 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Flicker Flashbacks. A 1930s look at some archive footage from the turn of the century. There is a feature on 'Bathing Beauties', a spoof melodrama, and a moral tale.

1. Intertitle: 'Pathe News 1900'. 'Venice California, Bathing Beauties Display the Latest in Scant Costumes'.

Archive footage of a group of women emerging shyly from bathing machines or beach huts. They all wear close fitting bathing hats, knee length bloomers and apron-like dresses over the top. Voiceover tells us that this is the latest in shocking beachwear, guaranteed to keep you dry in the roughest water. The girls run down a path towards the sea. A heavily dressed couple pause and look shocked. A beached boat can be seen. The girls bathe and paddle in the sea. Group of bathing beauties sit on the side of the boat and giggle at the camera. They run off towards the beach huts.

Title screen which reads, 'All our pictures here have been approved by the board of censors and are moral and clean.'

Black background. A photograph of a baby sits in an illustrated half moon with a face. Words at the top of the screen are illegible, the bottom of the frame says, 'is it yours?'.

2. Intertitle: 'Goodness Gracious with Clara Kimball Young and Sydney Drew'. Bored looking, well dressed (in 1910-20s style) young woman sits reading. A fat man behind her is embraced by a younger man in a tweed suit. Voiceover explains that the fat man is trillionaire Mr Dalton, and he is receiving a visit from his son, Jack, played by Sydney Drew. Bored woman (the secretary, played by Clara) stands and she and Jack make eye contact. They clasp their hands together and slowly turn towards each other. The voiceover tells us that they have fallen in love at first sight.

Cut to a scene in a bar. Villains in bad false moustaches and black hats cluster around a table, plotting against Clara. Jack listens in the background and knocks over a large nearby ornament. He approaches the table to listen closer. The baddies (hilariously) do not notice. Clara walks into a room (it's a trap!). The baddies are concealing themselves behind checked tablecloths. Whenever she turns her back, they drop their cover. When she looks over, they hide again. This comic staple occurs several times until one of the baddies taps her on the shoulder. She swoons into the lead baddy's arms. Jack appears and distracts the villains. They walz out of the room. Cut to a staircase. Clara walks down and Jack slides down the bannister, knocking off the end pillar as he does so. He holds the pillar so that the baddies become trapped when they slide down. Jack and Clara run away, and the villains all fall to the floor. Jack throws Clara from a window and then appears outside in time to catch her as she falls. They escape.

Intertitle: 'Two Years Later'. Clara, now dressed in an old woman shawl looks harrassed as she is mobbed by four children (all of whom, amusingly, look at least five years old). She stands up to reveal Jack sitting on a chair, holding a small ugly dog. Voiceover tells us that things are not going well, and that there is no food in the house so Clara is feeding the children ration coupons (shown).

Cut to old Mr Dalton, possibly counting money onto a small table. Jack and his family enter in a billow of snow and prostrate themselves before him. The villain leader can be seen skulking in the background. Mr Dalton throws the family out. See them in a snow storm outside. Villain behind them laughs victoriously. Inside. The villain shoots Mr Dalton with a small (toy?) pistol. Mr Dalton (who has a bandaged foot) unrolls a rug onto the floor then falls dead on to it. Jack runs back into the room and begins to tend to his father. Villain comically conceals himself behind a very small plant pot. The villain calls in a gaggle of comedy policemen who all point at Jack and accuse him of the crime. They shackle him in irons. At the police station. Jack (still carrying the dog) locks himself into the cell and passes the key through the bars back to the policemen. At Mr Dalton's house. Clara sits on the rug. The villain enters because he has "forgotten a few minor clues". The baddie picks up a walking stick, a pair of gloves, a top hat, and the gun (tee hee). Clara sees the baddie and accuses him of the crime. They struggle. Mr Dalton who is lying on his bed, wakes up ("why, he wasn't dead after all!"). The police drag the baddie away. Mr Dalton applauds. Outside. The group of policemen drag the villain to their waiting car (high speed). Clara and Mr Dalton hail a taxi.

Courtroom. Close up on Jack. Journalists in court write rapidly. Policemen and the baddie run up courtroom steps (high speed). Villain and Jack brought face to face. Villain is dragged off. Old man and Clara arrive. Journalists write. Jack released. He and Clara embrace. The End.

Title board, policeman standing next to the words, "Positively no stamping or whistling allowed", "all those having seen the performance will kindly pass out".

3. Intertitle: "A Drunkard's Reformation - Directed by D.W. Griffith".

Three well dresed men sit around a table in a pub. The bar can be seen behind them. One man goes to leave but is persuaded to stay for one last drink. He accepts.

At his home, his wife and child set the dinner table. Man walks in drunkenly and throws objects at his wife. She turns away and sobs. Man sits and swipes his arm at his daughter. Man drinks coffee. Daughter presents him with tickets to a play. He reluctantly agrees to go. Mother help daughter on with her hat and coat and they leave.

At the theatre. People take their seats. Daughter and drunk arrive. They sit at the front. Curtain opens. On stage, three actors drink buttermilk (the drunk's tipple of choice) at a bar. Two of the actors persuade their companion to stay for more drinks and not go home to his loving family. The father in the audience looks glum. Stage wife and child appear and try to make the drunk actor stop drinking. A tussle occurs and he hits his wife. The father in the audience looks worried. Stage drunk has his one last drink. Curtain closes. Act two. Stage mother and child arrive home. Stage drunk already there. He smashes a bottle and attacks the child. He picks up the child and violently bounces her on his knee, before finally throwing her roughly aside. Drunk attacks his wife and falls over. End of play.

Father and daughter arrive home. Mother is alseep at the table. Father resolves to be a better husband. Family all sit cosily together. The End.


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