» » Le chemineau (1906)

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    • Author: GYBYXOH
    This film, which came out in France in 1905, is indeed the famous episode of "the bishop's candlesticks" and the Pathé catalogue description makes it clear that, at the end, he is brought by the police to the house of the curé who, as in the book, absolves him of all blame by claiming that he himself has given him the candlesticks.

    It is a good early film by one of the very best (and much-neglected) film-makers of the period 1905-1913, specialising in naturalistic dramas and becoming more sophisticated with every year that passed (his feature length versions of Les Misérables and Germinal appeared in 1912 and 1913 respectively).

    The "missing" ending is curious and one suspects it was intentional. In the US the film (originally called 'The Tramp" in English) seems at some point to have been retitled "The Strong Arm of the Law" - an entirely inappropriate title for the film with its original ending intact. It looks as though this title was used for a cut version that radically and deliberately deformed the moral of the tale so that, as was usually the case in US films, the tramp and thief could be shown to have got his "just" deserts. The version I have seen is Dutch but is as likely to be copied from the US version as from the original French one.
  • comment
    • Author: Global Progression
    This very early Capellani film looks like it is going to turn into an early scene from LES MISERABLES, but doesn't: a tramp is given dinner and a soft bed by a kind-hearted clergyman and steals his candlesticks. Fortunately the police are never far away.... and there it cuts. Was it meant to suggest Victor Hugo's work? Or just middle class anxiety? Capellani handles the subject very gracefully for 1906 (even more so when you realize that the print on Edition Fillmuseum's SCREENING THE POOR dates it a year earlier in 1905), with a long, leisurely pan showing the clergyman's dining room and the nice bed he offers the tramp. But it is too short for anything interesting in narrative.
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