The Miller and the Sweep (1897)
Director: George Albert Smith
Synopsis: In front of a flour mill, two men fight.
The Miller and the Sweep is a very simple premise that works quite well, and was quite a popular subject both for cinema and for comic strips. It tells no story as such – this was 1897, after all: cinema hadn’t even learned to crawl yet let alone walk – but makes good use of space and the contrast between the men, one of whom is dressed in black, the other in white. Presumably the idea was for the two men to change colour as they belt each other with their sacks of soot and flour, but it doesn’t really work. After the men have done fighting there’s an odd little chase scene tacked on to the end of The Miller and the Sweep which involves around a dozen women running across the screen.
(Reviewed 1st June 2009)