L’insaisissable pickpocket (1908)
Article 5653 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Segundo de Chomon
What it is: Comic special effects short
Cops chase a pickpocket who also manages to be a snazzy dresser as well as an accomplished magician.
The plot is simple as pie; it’s a series of gags in which police are constantly thwarted by the pickpocket’s magic transformations. Though the special effects are good, it’s the breezy and confident humor that really sells this; the pickpocket is played with such cocky confidence that he becomes a fun character. A lot happens in the short’s four-minute running time, but, except for a few moments where it looks like a bit of footage is missing, it’s easy to follow. My favorite moment has the police thinking they’ve got the pickpocket trapped in a barrel.