Thursday, March 12, 2009

in your face

So I'm watching Friedrich (Nosferatu) Murnau's Tartuffe (1925) and this odd bit happens...

A young man has just been thrown out of his grandfather's home by a housekeeper who is trying to steal his inheritance.

He turns and runs across the street...

and comes right up to talk to the camera:

but it's a silent movie; he can't actually talk to the camera so you get an intertitle instead:

It's a bit like when Bugs Bunny says "of course, you know this means war..."

Talking to the audience wasn't unknown in live theater then, but this is the earliest film that I've seen where an actor playing a character addresses the camera.

Gertie the dinosaur interacting with onstage Winsor McKay doesn't count. Gertie was playing herself.

1 comment:

skarab said...

It's always interesting to see this sort of thing in old movies. The language of film was just being invented so the further back you go the more interesting quirks like this pop up.

The things that worked, they kept, and the things that didn't always seem odd and a little out of place!

And old movies are full of things like this because they were literally feeling their way in the dark.