SIGHTSEEING THROUGH WHISKY (1907)
aka Pauvre John ou Les aventures d’un buveur de whiskey
Article 4261 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Melies
What it is: Drunken visions
A lazy servant on a tour of ancient ruins decides to lag behind and get drunk on whisky. He collapses and has strange visions.
Maybe it’s because I’ve had a bit of a movie drought lately, but I rather enjoyed this Melies short, despite the fact that it has a fairly poor reputation. Still, one of the accusations made against this short must be reckoned with, and that is that Melies doesn’t break any new ground; it’s mostly a series of “things-appearing-out-of-nowhere” tricks that he’s done before, and even the most surreal moment (in which the drunkard is tormented by a bunch of dancing girls with mops) has popped up in an earlier short. I think I may have liked it a bit more because the title had me expecting a rehash of THE DREAMS OF A RAREBIT FIEND, and the short goes in a different direction; still, that doesn’t mean it went anywhere new. And, if you’re like me, you may spend some time wondering when the sleeping woman in the foreground will play into the action, but you’ll have to be patient; she’s there to set up the final gag.