Tuesday, March 02, 2004

(written yesterday for a.m. posting)

In confirming my suspicion that this DVD of D.W. Griffith's Biograph shorts miscredits Lilian Gish as Dorothy in Musketeers In Pig Alley (see Negative Space, p. 210), came across this. The rest of the same site consists of early screenplays (Dreyer's Passion, The Golem) and demands further exploration (wouldn't you want to read Satan McAllister's Heir?), but on Musketeers (silent, 1912), we get a synopsis, and a list of shots, entitled "Cutting continuity," and otherwise headed:

Copyright Descriptive Material, Library of Congress, November 4, 1912, LU90

I can't say I've ever thought about what early filmmakers might have had to submit toward a copyright. What's weirding me out (can't do better right now) is that both synopsis and this list of shots elide or mangle the very mysterious penultimate shot, right after the ridiculously apposite final title card, which reads: LINKS IN THE SYSTEM. Shot in question, "Snapper Kid," leader of the street gang, has just been released by a cop on the strength of Gish's vouch. He's just standing there, smoking and smiling, when an arm, no idea whose, stretches out of the right side of the screen (there's supposed to be a doorway to an adjoining saloon), holding a wad of cash, which our anti-hero takes. I can't figure this out at all; the hoods have already given back Gish's beau's money (shot that follows this is the couple embracing); I didn't see any other money change hands. I've watched this 3 times, not counting a screening in San Diego last fall, and I cannot rationalize it.

In any case, the plot synopsis (also registered, apparently) doesn't mention this at all, and the relevant bit of the continuity script runs [sic, believe me]:

Room: Man and girl talking - man enters

Sub-title: Links in the system


Policema[...]g in hallway

Room: Young man holding arms out to girl

Trade-mark: [AB logo]


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