Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906)
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35 years before Dumbo showed what happens when you drink too much - hint, pink elephants appear and do some crazy s*** - there was this little 7 minute short, done only several years into when motion pictures where even a thing in the world. The premise is simple: a guy is eating and drinking his fill, and when I say drinking I mean the booze sort. When he stumbles out of the restaurant everything is topsy-turvy, literally. He can't stand straight and puts himself up against a pole, but the camera does an effect - a few, actually - to simulate like a pendulum the world swinging back and forth, and then there is a rear-screen or double-processing of the film so that there's another dimension behind our protagonist. He goes home to try and sleep it off, but this is where his troubles get worse in dream-time. I have to wonder if a lot of the early pioneering filmmakers saw this (it was co-directed by one of them, the Great Train Robbery's Edwin S Porter), since the idea of going up into the air in dreams - and in a bed, no less, which I seem to recall being in a number of animated/live-action kids movies over the years - and it's innovative. It's dazzling to see a man like this in a bed going up into the air, and it's terrifying too; there's a moment where the bed spins around over and over as if it won't ever stop (and one knows logically the person isn't in the bed, but the magic trick part of this is different). Apparently it was a big "hit" for whatever that means for 1906 with a whopping 192 copies being circulated. But no wonder; there wasn't really anything like this before, albeit it's of all things a *comic strip movie* (take THAT Marvel!) and how the directors put their subject through the surreal wringer is extraordinary. Is it all perfect, no, but for the period it caught my attention and brought me on a roller-coaster ride, in a manner of speaking. As far as nickelodeon attractions go, this is as good as you can get, and there's a moral to if it one thinks about, you know, drinking till you can't drink anymore is such a good idea.
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