Archive for May 5, 2015

Slippery Jim

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on May 5, 2015 by dcairns

Watch this! Reputedly inspired  by Harry Houdini’s recent Parisian dates, this 1910 trick-film by Fernand Zecca, made for Pathe Freres, uses inventive special effects and animation to depict impossible feats of escapology and indeed resurrection. Christ popping out of his cave-grave has nothing on Slippery Jim, who disassembles his own body, cycles through the skies like Elliot and ET, and bisects a policeman with the wheel of his magic bike. Even if you’re very familiar with Meliés and all the subsequent developments in effects artistry, I think there are likely to be some tricks in here you haven’t seen done quite like this…

There’s no real way to end a film like this, since all the characters are indestructible and there’s no real logic beyond the generally accepted (but often unreal) antipathy between cops and crooks. So, like one of the simpler cartoons, the film just rings changes on a basic situation and then stops arbitrarily. I was kind of glad to see the forces of anarchism triumph, though — it would seem hypocritical to spend ten minutes celebrating the violation of every law of man and nature and then impose some kind of moral ending.

vlcsnap-2015-05-04-22h02m59s186Half a copper?