Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)
Director: J. Stuart Blackton
Cast: J. Stuart Blackton
Synopsis: A cartoonist draws faces and figures on a blackboard which come to life.
This 100+-year-old relic is where it all began for the animated movie industry, the granddaddy of all cartoon flicks – and, like all granddaddies, it’s old and creaky, but you can’t help but be fascinated by it, even if only because of it’s very great age. The artist is J. Stuart Blackton, moonlighting from his office job as joint head of Vitagraph, the early motion picture company, and the first portly gentleman he sketches bears a remarkable resemblance to the wine-drinking chap from ‘The Enchanted Drawing’ which Blackton made for Thomas Edison in 1900. The drawings are dodgy, as is their movement, and Blackton hasn’t got enough water on his cloth, but that all adds to the charm.
(Reviewed 28th May 2005)