A Rube Couple at a County Fair (1904)
Director: Edwin S. Porter
The title of this early US film is something of a con really. Another rube couple had appeared in an entertaining movie set at Coney Island the previous year, and that film had been quite entertaining (for it’s day) so any audience of the time would have been forgiven for thinking this film would provide them with more comedy along the lines of the first film. Well, they were sure to have been disappointed with what they saw, because this is essentially a travelogue/documentary film showing such riveting and comical moments as bulls being led by rings through their noses and horses trotting daintily in front of the camera.
When the rubes do finally turn up – about halfway through the film’s nine minute running time – they fail to do anything even remotely amusing. The film does briefly come alive though as the camera roams amongst the crowds at the fair, and you get a real flavour of the moment. Unfortunately, this only lasts for a minute or so before we return to interminable shots of livestock being put through their paces.
(Reviewed 20th June 2009)