(Review originally written at 3 February 2007)

Comedies from the 1910's weren't really known for their good comical timing or pace.

Of course in 2007 perspective this movie really isn't that good, both from a technical and entertainment viewpoint. But fact is, that if you compare this movie from other comedy shorts from the same time period. from Hollywood, this is an amusing and well put together comedy short.

The movie features the comedy character Bout-de-Zan, of who lots of movies were made between 1912 and 1916 and stars early French child-star René Poyen in the main lead.

René Poyen seemed like a lively and amusing kid that knew how to act in a comical way in front of the camera. I already liked him- and thought that he was amusing in the 1915 movie-serial "Les Vampires", also directed by Louis Feuillade.

The story is simple but amusingly constructed. A old friend is visiting Bout-de-Zan's uncle and is starting to brag about how good of a shot he is. Of course Bout-de-Zan sees through this and discover he's lying and comes up with a plan to unmask him and make a fool out of him. It's very simple but the movie itself is also very short, which makes the story perfect material for a movie like this.

It's a shame that in the end the movie still turns into a propaganda movie, about joining the French army to fight the Germans in WW I. Was this really necessary? It really doesn't feel right. "Bout de Zan et l'embusqué" should had remained purely a clean and fun silent comedy short and not one that makes a statement and tell people they should join the war.

It makes the very ending one of the weaker points, of an otherwise great fun, early silent comedy short.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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