(Review originally written at 12 October 2010)

This was a bit weird to watch. It's an early Edison movie that shows variety artist Hadji Cheriff doing some crazy moves. It's hard to tell what he is actually doing and it's all just basically him jumping and swirling around. Appearantly there is a knife involved with all of this but I couldn't really see this at all.

With these type of early movies it was also the intention to cash in on it. Instead of letting people go to the theaters and carnivals for this sort of things, Edison and company attempted to bring the entertainment to the people with his short movies. These early movies also serve as a test for this, to see how well it all looks and what can and can't be done on film.

Hadji Cheriff almost jumps out of the screen a couple of times and he seems to have an hard time staying in the middle of the shot. I don't know if this is true but they also have seemed to mess a bit with the movie its frame rate. It's almost as if this movie is being played in slow-motion. For basically all of their sport related subjects, the Edison studio's, shot with 30 fps, while for their other, 'normal' everyday subjects, they used 20 or less. No idea if they actually attempted to create a slow-motion effect but fact is that all of the movements don't really flow that well and don't seem very fluent. Perhaps it would had worked out better all if the movie had been longer than its 19 seconds. There is now a clear beginning movie but there is no clear ending to it all. The movie just cuts off, while Hadji Cheriff is still in the middle of some moves.

In my opinion this just isn't a very interesting subject, though it's still interesting to see how people were entertained by several different variety artists and their acts, over an hundred years ago. As a test it doesn't seem like a very successful or influential one because of its subject and how it eventually turned out to look. Still they must had liked something about it, since they would use Hadji Cheriff years later again for one of their short movies; "Arabian Gun Twirler".

Just not good or interesting enough in my opinion.


About Frank Veenstra

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