This film is part of Free

Countryman and the Cinematograph

A country yokel gets a shock in an early example of a 'film within a film'.

Comedy 1901 Silent


A country yokel confuses film and reality in one of the first examples of the 'film within a film' device - and one of an intriguing handful of early films to draw attention to the properties of film itself. This RW Paul comedy is in fact the only surviving section of a longer film, in which the yokel responds to projected images of, respectively, a dancer, the approaching train seen here, and finally himself caught in a romantic clinch with a dairy maid.

The surviving sequence clearly alludes to the reactions reported at public screenings of the Lumiere Brothers' 1896 film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, when the projected images of an approaching engine apparently caused spectators to panic. However, historians have suggested such reports may have been mythical or exaggerated.