Careful Duellists

Il duello dei paurosi
Dir. and actors unknown. P: Itala Film. It 1908
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema

“Itala’s short comedies were of three kinds. The first one was the trick comedy, which was usually very short (less than 200 feet). The comic effect was tied to a bald subversion of commonsense and the conventions of everyday life. A frequent strategy, common to the French genre of dislocations mystérieuses, was the dismembering and recomposition of the human body, as in Un uomo a pezzi (Man in Piece[s], 1908) or Chi ha visto la mia testa? (Who Has Seen My Head?, 1909).(…)
The second type was the farcical comic scene. The prototype was Lumière’s L’arroseur arrosé, but its length was expanded (up to 400 feet by 1908) and so its narrative articulation. Typical were the reproductions of variety theater sketches, as in Il cugino mangiatore di tartufi (He Is a Cousin Who Eats the Truffle, 1908) or Il signor Testardo (Mr. Stubborn, 1909). Mostly, the subgenre comprised reversals of social and biological order. Animals assumed anthropomorphic features in films like Il cavallo salvatore (Horse to the Rescue, 1908) and Il cane spazza camino (Sweep Dog, 1910). Women displayed a tendency to violence heretofore unknown as in Una signora furiosa (An Enraged Woman, 1908). Rituals of honor were usually dissolved into grotesque parodies like Il duello dei paurosi (Timid Duellers, 1908) while social roles were suspended in films like Lo sciopero dei lattanti (Baby Strike, 1908). The most vulgar parodies often alternated with social farces ormicro-pochade, adapted from the tradition of French vaudeville comedies of married life, such as Discussione ad oltranza (You Shall Pay for It, 1909) and Il capodanno della gelosa (Jealous Wife’s New Year’s Day, 1910).”
Silvio Alovisio: The “Pastrone System”: Itala Film from the Origins to World War I. Università degli studi di Torino 2013, p. 10-11

Il duello di Robinet
R: Marcel Perez. B: Arrigo Frusta. K: Giovanni Vitrotti. D: Marcel Fabre (= Marcel Perez), Ercole Vaser. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio. It 1910
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema

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