The Early Cinema: The World of Signs


The Biograph company's catalogue described this 1904 movie tis way:

"A high board fence is shown covered with theatrical posters. The one in the center shows the head and shoulders of a pretty girl. An old farmer and his wife are strolling along, the old gentleman being a little ahead. He looks at the picture of the girl and fancies he sees the eyes winking at him. He puts on his glasses to make sure that he is not dreaming, when the girl leans forward with an expression as if inviting him to have a kiss. The old man is about to take advantage of his delusion when his wife appears on the scene, and taking him by the ears rushes him away."

We might see this as playful movie about the allure of advertising, and the confusion between sign and reality. It makes fun of the fact that advertising, and especially images of women, had assumed new powers to attract.