The Onésime Series

Onésime horloger
R: Jean Durand. K: Paul Castenet. D: Ernest Bourbon, Gaston Modot. P: Gaumont. Fr 1912
Engl. intertitles

“(…) the Onésime series expropriated cinematic trucs probably more than any other comic series. The best known, and perhaps most accomplished, of these films is Onésime horloger (1912), whose premise stipulates that Onésime cannot receive his inheritance from an uncle for twenty years. To overcome this obstacle, he reads an 1859 treatise on timepieces and constructs a special pneumatic clock that can accelerate time in his interest. (…) his magical clock, which is as responsible for his success as is any initiative on his part, permits him to tinker with and remake himself and his story – he can have his cake and eat it, too, perhaps repeatedly. And, as the product of another ‘magical’ apparatus, Onésime horloger itself epitomizes the cinema’s ability to do the same, serving up incompatible ingredients in a fantasy space of pleasurable consumption.”
Richard Abel: The Ciné Goes to Town. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 1998, p. 406 f.

“Messing around with the natural order of things per the laws of physics, gravity, etc. was indeed common during this period and the manipulation of time was a popular topic thanks in part to the 1895 publication of ‘The Time Machine’ by H.G. Wells. (The novel was even considered as the theme for a sort of proto-virtual reality machine by British filmmaker R.W. Paul.) Mark Twain’s 1889 novel ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ can also be considered as part of the time travel DNA. ‘Rip Van Winkle’ (1819) by Washington Irving as well, unless you consider the more supernatural flavor of the tale to be more fantasy than science fiction.”
Fritzi Kramer
Movies Silently

Onésime et le nourrisson de la nourrice indigne
R: Jean Durand. D: Ernest Bourbon, Raymond Aimos, Berthe Dagmar, Gaston Modot. P: Gaumont. Fr 1912
Engl. subtitles

La disparition d’Onésime
R: Jean Durand. D: Ernest Bourbon, Édouard Grisollet, Gaston Modot. P: Gaumont. Fr 1913
Engl. subtitles