France1911-1920ComedyLouis FeuilladeSilent

Louis Feuillade – Bout-de-Zan vole un éléphant (1913)

A circus is in town so Bout-de-Zan (Rene Poyen) decides to sneak off and see the elephant while everyone else is sleeping. Once there he decides the best thing to do would be to steal it and the two then set off for many misadventures.

Review at Movies silently
Cute kids indulging in bratty antics have always delighted film audiences and France had several favorites running at the time. Feuillade had been making the Bébé series with child actor René Dary (who would later enjoy a career in the talkies) but Dary’s parents insisted on more and more money for their son’s services and so a younger René was engaged, our Bout de Zan. (The two boys actually resembled one another quite a bit, though the Bébé character seems to have been generally more posh than Bout de Zan.)

Just four years old when this picture was made, Poyen displays poise and confidence, plus the mischief that we all know and expect. The plot of the film is pretty much given away entirely by the title: Bout de Zan steals into an encampment and makes off with a baby elephant. The two rascals have a grand time overturning fruit carts and generally painting the town red until they are taken in by a philanthropic lady.

Bout de Zan Steals an Elephant is light and silly and short. It isn’t a lost comedy masterpiece but it is anarchic, quirky fun, exactly what we have come to expect from pre-war French comedies. This picture will be of particular interest to Feuillade fans who have perhaps only seen his serials but want to enjoy some of his other genre work. It’s less than ten minutes so it’s easy enough to fit into the viewing schedule.

150MB | 09m 00s | 744×576 | mkvélé


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