Départ de Jérusalem en chemin de fer
Cinematography by Alexandre Promio.
for the Edison Manufacturing Company
Place du Pont
The title translates from French as "On the roofs".
This movie is all about attitude. The dancers are James T. Kelly and Dorothy Kent, of Waite’s Comedy Company. They are probably not drunk but they act it as part of the dance. It's a dance that's rarely seen these days, and so this movie is the closest thing we have to footage of a dingy afterhours dancehall in 1897. Kelly and Kent are so funny and natural in front of the camera, it feels as if movies had been around a lot longer than the nineteen since The Horse in Motion.
The Peeping Tom
A human skeleton dances in front of a black curtain. The skeleton falls apart but continues to dance in pieces, then it reassembles and keeps dancing all the way off camera. There doesn't seem to be any stop-motion animation, rather every bone seems to be suspended by its own string. In other words, it's all puppetry, and possibly the first instance of puppetry in movies. It's the great rhythm that has kept the bouncing entertaining for more than a century. The exact year of filming is somewhat disputed, so I'm waiting for more proof to be certain. For the moment, however, it seems like it fits best in 1897.