Diabolo Nightmare (1907)

Article 4083 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-19-2012
Directed by Walter R. Booth
Cast unknown
Country: UK
What it is: Silent comic short

A clerk, addicted to playing the game of Diabolo, wreaks havoc when he wanders about freely playing the game with no attention paid to his surroundings.

I had been led to believe at one time that Diabolo was a popular card game of the period. Maybe it was, but in this short, Diabolo seems to be a novelty puzzle game whereby the player tries to keep a vase-like object suspended in the air using two sticks and a piece of string. This concept wouldn’t inherently push the movie into the fantastic genres, but a couple of moments make it qualify; at one point, he finds himself suspended on a hook from a passing airship, and near the end, he walks into the ocean and shows the game to some mermaids and (I’m assuming) Neptune. There’s no real story; it just wanders from setpiece to setpiece. It’s mildly amusing.

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