Archive for January 26, 2020

The Sunday Intertitle: Cunegonde

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on January 26, 2020 by dcairns

I was going to talk about CUNEGONDE HAS VISITORS, another Girls Gone Wild video from Il Cinema Ritrovato’s collection A Hundred Years Ago – Comic Actresses and Suffragettes, but that one’s not on VousTube. It’s another housewrecking short, in which relatives from the country help the vigorous Cunegonde clean house, in the process absolutely trashing the place (because they’re yokels and can’t do anything right).

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Putting ducks in the bath is the least of it.

Though the film’s premise is dubious, seeing stuff destroyed is usually an agreeable cinematic experience, so it’s diverting.

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Cunegonde, sometimes credited as Arabella, is listed as Little Chrysia on the IMDb, suggesting we don’t actually know who she really was. According to this tantalizing piece, the mystery has just been solved by Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, but seems to be still a closely-guarded secret or something.

Here’s another Cunegonde. CUNEGONDE FEMME COCHERE. She drives a coach! Badly! And horsewhips a stage “Chinaman” and then pays the prices via sub-Melies jump-cut substitutions…

Since I can’t read Dutch, I don’t know what the original premise of the film is — we see the text of a letter but I dunno what it says. But we get to see her beat up a Keystone gendarme, embraced by a giant fox, and there’s an early trucking shot taken from a car (rare in comedies of the period, I think) and a single close-up at the end. Maybe TOO close?

She’s like the silent Kathy Burke — I think you’ll enjoy her.