The Sunday Intertitle: Fighting Weight


It’s Robinet again, or Nauke as the Dutch called him. Google Translate translates Nauke into English as “Nauke.” Good to know.

Being too heavy, our man takes part in various torturous exercises to lose weight. I can identify. But I do recommend the low-carb diet, even if you have to be careful not to collapse yourself by taking things too far. It’s not hard to stick to and the pounds or kilos just fall off. Since the only exercise I can abide is walking, the rest are too boring (the scenery stays the same) or too competitive (losing all the time is monotonous).

Wrestling: since Robinet, real name Marcel Perez, last scene last Sunday, from the knees down, in AMOR PEDESTRE, can be thrown through the air, landing flat on the ground, AND get up again, it seems unnecessary to jump-cut him into a floppy dummy so he can do it again. But I always enjoy a floppy dummy so I don’t mind. The figures below are the real Robinet on the left and the dummy on the right.

I don’t know if being flung through the air is a great way to lose weight. Limbs, possibly.

Running seems more like it. I don’t much like running, the scenery goes by too shakily to be appreciated. Robinet’s version, the silent movie kind, is faster, and more violent. It ends with him being thrown through the air again, this time by a karabinieri.

Robinet is a good, agile clown, but frenetic in the early-silent way, and the Italian way: more of a Benigni than a Toto.

At 3 minutes 48 this movie is a fine length. I strongly suspect it’s been whittled down from a more substantial one-reeler. The format looks to be home-cinema, 9.5mm maybe. The gag sequences either start in media res or end that way, suggesting the splicer has been deployed for more than the customary topping and tailing you’d expect in 1910.

Boxing seems like a good way to stay fit and die at the same time. It’s like contact jogging. The prancing is what’s healthy. The hitting, less so. Robinet keeps his shirt and tie on.

The closest I ever got to the ring was videoing amateur boxing for money when I was a student. What was most striking was the sound of trainers squeaking on the canvas, and the “Hss!” sound the fighters made each time they threw a punch. You don’t get that in the movies, and you don’t get it here.

The truncation — if that’s what it is — of the film works very well for the boxing bout, where Robinet-Nauke-Perez lunges at his opponent, flies from the ring into the audience, and the scene is over. I don’t imagine the intact version would be one the level of CITY LIGHTS, but I’m sure there would have been more of it.

There is less of Robinet — his regime has worked, and the only downside of his downsizing is that he’s now a physical wreck who has to be assisted onto the scales.

A comparison with Jerry Lewis is invited by the way he keeps staggering onto his knees as he walks, and then when he’s finally clad in jodhpurs and boots, he turns his toes in to create an amusing spasticity of gait.

Then he attempts to ride his horse by the neck, legs wrapped round its throat. He falls off a couple of times then the film just kinda stops. There’s apparently a DVD of ten Marcel Perez shorts, but I can’t find it. I would be potentially interested.

3 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: Fighting Weight”

  1. There are actually 2 volumes of Marcel Perez shorts, issued by Undercrank Productions, the label created and scored by Ben Model. They can be ordered here:

  2. David Ehrenstein Says:

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