A Phenomenal Contortionist (1901)

Article 4566 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-25-2014
Director unknown
Cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Sideshow with fantasy elements

A contortionist named St. Elmo illustrates the various positions into which the human body can bend.

I don’t know about you, but I find there’s something a little queasy about seeing a contortionist bend his body into truly inhuman positions, especially when he’s dressed in as skin-tight an outfit as the one here. Still, the expression of contortionistic abilities doesn’t in and of itself qualify as fantastic content. The reason this short gets included in the series is that on top of the contortions, we get a couple of mild Melies-like tricks; he makes a chair vanish and then does the same to himself at points during the short. They’re minor elements to the short, but there they are.


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