Rip Van Winkle (1903)

Article 4255 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-23-2013
Director unknown
Featuring Joseph Jefferson
Country: US
What it is: Adaptation of the legend

Rip Van Winkle encounters a group of dwarfs and sleeps for 20 years.

This movie was listed in my source book with a year of 1896, but I was unable to find a movie with that title from that year. However, it lists an alternate year of 1903, and it matches this one. The reason for the double dates is interesting; this movie was originally from a series of short films made in 1896 that were edited together and copyrighted in 1903 by Biograph. This movie is sitting with a lowly 4.8 rating on IMDB, and, judged as a 1903 movie, it probably merits the rating; it looks static and primitive for that time. However, judged with an 1896 year, then it looks considerably more ambitious, and one thing I can sense is that actor Joseph Jefferson (who also wrote the play adaptation from which this was based) actually does give a skilled performance. I do wonder if I’m going to end up watching the individual films, though taken as such, not very many of them may have fantastic content.


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