AND THE VILLAIN STILL PURSUED HER; OR, THE AUTHOR’S DREAM (1906)
Article 5194 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by J. Stuart Blackton
Featuring Paul Panzer
What it is: Bizarre comedy
A rather down-on-his-luck author falls asleep and dreams he is the unlikely hero in a mellerdrammer.
This is a title that had been consigned to me “ones that got away”, list, but it turns out that it was one of a series of unidentified shorts at the Library of Congress, and I was able to acquire a copy of it. I’m glad I did; though there are plenty of special effects to the short, they are there to serve the weird comic vibe of the short rather than for their own purposes. There’s a duel sequence that wouldn’t be out of place in a Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin short, a makeshift operation to remove a bullet lodged in someone’s head, an “escape by dumbwaiter” sequence involving an absurdly stretched leg… this one left my mouth hanging open a couple of times. It’s also one of those special effects shorts that doesn’t feel like an attempt to imitate Melies. Now that this short has been identified, it should become generally available in the next couple of years, and I’m glad; it’s one that is worth catching.