MYSTERIOUS CAFE (1901)
aka Mysterious Cafe, or Mr. and Mrs. Spoopendyke Have Troubles with a Waiter
Article 4221 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith
What it is: Slapstick trick film
A married couple has to deal with strange goings-on at a cafe.
Basically, this is a variation on one of the more common Melies motifs; it’s a “mysterious inn” trick film set in a diner. These are films where chairs and tables disappear, reappear, and move around on their own, much to the chagrin of any occupants trying to use them. If there’s anything that sets this one apart from the pack, it’s that the diners are obviously knockabout comic characters; rather than just passively allowing themselves to be victims of the furniture, they put the blame on the waiter and beat him up. It’s pretty primitive, but at least it offers some variety to the mix.