As Seen Through a Telescope (1900)
Director: George Albert Smith
Synopsis: An elderly gentleman in a silk hat sits on a stool in front of a store on the main street of town. He has a telescope that he focuses on the ankle of a young woman…
An early example of the use of cinema as a vehicle of voyeurism and the camera’s shot depicted as something masculine is shown to good effect in George Albert Smith’s As Seen Through a Telescope. The film shows an old man spying on a young couple through a telescope. Much of the film is a Point-of-view shot through the telescope’s lens which gives us a close up of the young man’s hand fondling the lady’s ankle as he ostensibly buckles her shoe. The old man isn’t fooled, and the younger man knows exactly what he’s up to – a fact signified by his smacking the old man’s hat off his head as he follows his companion past him. Edwin S. Porter copied the film three years later for The Gay Shoe Clerk, but Smith did it better.
(Reviewed 8th June 2009)