(Review originally written at 29 March 2008)

Shortly after the early Kinetoscope experiment "Leonard-Cushing Fight", featuring the two boxers Jack Cushing and Mike Leonard in a boxing match, this movie got made at the Thomas Edison's Black Maria Studios, featuring two cats, fully equipped with boxing gloves, having a go at each other. So perhaps with some imagination you can call this movie the first ever made spoof and it certainly is the first ever done comical subject at the Thomas Edison's Black Maria Studios.

The subject of Professor Welton (exactly what was he a professor in I wonder?) Vaudeville's act of two boxing cats is sort of amusing and cute. No doubt that animal right organizations now days would do anything to ban this movie from being shown was it made today but truth is that this is a pretty harmless act. The gloves take away a lot of the blow, so no cats got harmed during the making of this motion picture and actually seeing cats fight on the streets with their claws is of course something far more violent and violent looking, even though it's just nature, unlike obviously putting gloves on a couple of cats and let them fight in a small boxing ring.

Henry Welton himself (the professor from this movie its title) sets the cats up against each other and he can be seen picking them up toward each other. These two cats obviously had no grudge toward each other but were put up to it to fight. Perhaps not the most kind thing to do but you also have to remember that this was 1894 when these sort of animal vaudeville acts were very common and part of everyday's life.

The camera is pretty close up to the fight but it covers the entire fighting area. It's not entirely symmetric, since it only shows one side of the ring. Nevertheless it's an effective composition, since it shows everything that needs to be seen and apart from its shaking images, it's perfect. The same can be said about the quality of the movie. Hardly any grain here in this one.

A nice little comical turn from the boys at the Edison Manufacturing Company.


About Frank Veenstra

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