La marâtre (1906)

The serious subject matter of child abuse is tackled here in a refreshingly frank manner, with some scenes having emotional resonance to this very day.

Would probably have benefitted from a longer running time to fully develop story and characters. Not in my book of righteous fathers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMPHD4743iM

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Les chiens savants (1902)

Miss Dundee’s waist is more impressive than the underwhelming dog performances in this early short by pioneering french female director Alice Guy-Blaché.

Not in my book of animals showing off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QMLcJgSOWM

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The awakening (1909)

Sealed with a kiss! Moviemaking has changed so much that it is sometimes hard to distinguish comedy from drama after more than a hundred years.

Quaint social patterns make this one rather incomprehensible, despite the simple and straightforward story. Not in my book of relations and differences in height.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqRB2mAl4xs

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The doctor’s bride (1909)

A parodically quick ride downhill for an unfaithful woman – but is this for real?

Fast, to the point, and more than a little silly. Not in my book of marital threats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig5aFXH-C1Q

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Alice in Wonderland (1915)

More elaborate and far longer than earlier silent versions, this one comes with a strangely unnecessary explanatory intro and an unconventionally unstressed rabbit luring Alice into »Dreamland« – major spoiler alert!

Weirdly cool animal costumes and a charming lead actress, but everything takes far too long and only come across as aimless and meandering in a boring way. Not in my book of card play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S12Cfjd2GnY

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Alice in Wonderland (1910)

Too many arm-waving, talky longueurs makes this quite tedious despite the short running time and high amount of wondrous happenings.

Technically superior to the 1903 version, of course, but still not in my book of rabbit holes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJxPDs8Q–Y

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Alice in Wonderland (1903)

Heavy reliance on text intertitles – complete with unnecessary spoilers! – for understanding. Suffering from fragmented and jittery editing. All in all, this turns into a rather bumpy ride whether you’re familiar with the source material or not. Reasonably well-made »special effects« for its time, though.

Not in my book of dreams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeIXfdogJbA

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