In my review of the Deutsches Filmmuseum (scroll down to 30 August) an early short was mentioned, The “?” Motorist. We’re proud to present it to you today. It was made in 1906 by R.W. Paul and is an excellent example of how the early directors copied each other’s good ideas. Yes, it was quite easy in the days when you couldn’t pause videos on the internet – because the internet, like dvds or televisions, had yet to be invented.
So as not to spoil too much, here it is: the article continues below.
If you can get past the daylight robbery of scenes, this film is quite good. Mainly because there’s really an attempt at a narrative here. The most obviously stolen scenes are from Trip to the Moon by Méliès (1902), for reasons far too obvious. Lesser known is The Extraordinary (Cab) Accident by Booth (1903). In this minute-short movie, a man is run over by a car. As pedestrians rush to the poor guy, he suddenly jumps up and runs away with his girlfriend (watch it here). It’s evidently fake, but its naive attempt at tricking the audience is quite a lot of fun, mainly because you don’t expect a corpse to stand up and run away.
The policeman who chases the car in this film is also run over, but again that doesn’t stop him from continuing his chase. Police chases were also quite popular at the time (actually, that hasn’t changed) and therefore elementary in this mixture of popular ingredients.
This is the sort of movie that inspired people to build cinema towns like Hollywood.