THE AMATEUR WILLIAM TELL (1909)
Article 4648 by Dave Sindelar
What it is: Comic short
A young boy, enamored with the story of William Tell, makes a bow and arrow and practices using it on the people he meets. Much destruction ensues.
Certain movies are so rare that you have to settle for whatever quality you can in finding a copy. Though I was finally able to find a copy of this, the print is quite bad and much of the detail is lost. It’s rather difficult to evaluate a movie in those circumstances; you’re so busy trying to make out what’s going on that there’s not much room left in the experience to really enjoy it. It does look fitfully amusing, though; a better copy (if one ever manifests itself) might make a lot of difference.
As for the fantastic content, that probably belongs to a sequence near the end of the movie where the boy gets his comeuppance; in short, he has a nightmare where he is tried by a group of hooded figures which turn out to be the people he tormented earlier. He is punished in a fitting way, though, to be truthful, I can only attest to the fact that this happened because I received a plot description explaining what was happening; it was particularly difficult to make out the action in this sequence. The hooded figures certainly give it a touch of horror, though the touch is slight; I’d say this short is fairly marginal in that regard.