Ladies’ Skirts Nailed to a Fence (1899)
Ladies’ Skirts Nailed to a Fence is an early one-shot gag which, for all its primitive qualities, is quite inventive. A couple of men in drag play a pair of old gossips who find themselves nailed to a fence by pranksters. The joke works better because the ladies are played by men – who are quite obviously men dressed as women. Had the roles been played by women the humour would have been diminished as the audience would have had more sympathy for their predicament. The filmmakers try to film a reverse angle shot but get it all wrong: instead of moving the camera to the other side of the fence they move the actors around so that the background remains the same which creates a moment of confusion.
(Reviewed 8th June 2009)