Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Wake in "Hell's Kitchen" - 1900

Takes place on a rather plain room set, with a single religious picture and a coat hanging from the plain, white walls. An open coffin sits in the center of the room, with its lid leaning against the back wall. An older, grey-haired woman--presumably the widow--stands holding a bunch of flowers to the left of the coffin, wailing and wiping away her tears with her apron. On the other side of the coffin sit two male mourners in three-piece suits, drinking beer. As the two men talk and light a pipe and the woman turns away in her grief, the occupant of the coffin--an older, balding man--sits up and looks around. He spies a large mug of beer to the side, picks it up, drinks all of the ale, and lies back down. When the woman places her flowers in the coffin, she notices the empty mug and questions the two mourners. The three engage in a heated argument, during which the ""corpse"" throws the flowers out of the coffin. Seeing this, the woman falls in a faint. In their hurry to get away, the two men knock over the coffin, spilling the supposed deceased on top of the woman.
From Biograph picture catalogue, Nov. 1902 [MI], p. 39: 30 feet. This scene is laid in the parlor of a New York tenement. Two watchers at the wake are smoking and drinking, while the widow is weeping over the coffin. The attention of the three is attracted for an instant, and the supposed corpse rises up, drinks all the beer in the pitcher which is standing on a table nearby, and lies down in the coffin again. The mourners return, and seeing that the beer is gone, engage in a controversy over it. During the scrap the corpse jumps out of the coffin and takes part in the melee.
United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, [1900?]
Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 12June1903; H32563.
Camera, Arthur Marvin.
Filmed July 26, 1900, on the roof of the Biograph New York City studio.
Wake services--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Death, Apparent--Drama.
Hell's Kitchen (New York, N.Y.)--Drama.
Coffins--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Mourning customs--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Beer--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Silent films.
Marvin, Arthur W., 1861-1911, camera.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

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