MONSIEUR CLOWN CHEZ LES LILLIPUTIENS (1909)
Article 5273 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Emile Cohl
What it is: Stop motion clown antics
A clown performs tricks and antics for an audience.
The title implies, of course, that the audience is made up of Lilliputians, the tiny people of “Gulliver’s Travels”, and I suppose this may provide the fantastic content. However, within the context of this short, the clown isn’t significantly larger than the audience, and there are no characters or incidents that clearly demonstrate that they’re not of normal size. Cohl experiments with more conventional stop-motion animation here, and I’m not sure he demonstrates a real proficiency at it; the animation looks ragged and a bit jerky. Furthermore, this style doesn’t allow him to engage in his stream-of-consciousness style at all; there are really no transformations on display here. If you reject the Lilliputian argument for fantastic content, the closest the short comes to having some is the passing appearance of a miniature horse. I have to admit that this is a somewhat disappointing item from Cohl’s oeuvre.