HAUNTED CAFE (1911)
aka Das verzauberte Cafe
Article 4893 by Dave Sindelar
What it is: Comic trick film
A man falls asleep in a restaurant and dreams that bizarre things are happening.
By 1911, this sort of trick short was old hat. It’s basically the usual shtick; furniture disappearing and moving around, people and things appearing out of nowhere and changing into other people and things, etc. Nevertheless, there is something that sets this one apart, and that is the performance by the lead actor. Rather than just watching or being a part of the bizarre occurrences, he actually reacts to them in a comic fashion as if they’re really happening, which, given the number of trick effects, is a pretty impressive feat. His performance gives an extra lift to the concept to make this one quite enjoyable. This is another one just rescued from my “ones that got away” list.