Best Comedy Movies of 1897
The X-Ray Fiend
A romantic couple are transformed into skeletons via X-Rays. The film combines two very recent innovations: Wilhelm Roentgen's discovery of X-rays in 1895, and Georges Méliès' accidental realisation of the special-effects potential of the jump-cut in 1896.
A man peeping through a keyhole at an attractive young woman gets his comeuppance. This film, presumed lost, is often mistaken for Ferdinand Zecca's "What Is Seen Through a Keyhole" (1901).
From Maguire & Baucus catalogue: A most amusing and life-like scene, in which a number of young ladies clad in their night robes, are seen engaged in a midnight frolic.
The Miller and the Sweep
In front of a flour mill, two men fight. One is the miller, and he's swinging a bag of flour in the scuffle. The other is a chimney sweep, and he's swinging what may be a bag of flour, but when it breaks open, it's clearly something else. Well into the havoc, spectators gather and give chase to the flour-covered sweep and the "well-sooted" miller.
A commercial. Four men sit in animated conversation in front of a billboard for Admiral Cigarettes. The billboard fills the entire background
The Mischievous Monkey
"This is a very laughable scene. A guest in a hotel who has retired, is disturbed in his slumbers by a monkey, which enters through the window and goes through a series of queer antics. The part of the monkey is taken by a skilled acrobat; and his work in this scene is of a particularly clever sort." (AMB Picture Catalogue)
“A comic subject, clear, bright and characteristic. Shows four girls in their night dresses, engaged in an animated pillow fight. During the action the pillows become torn, and the feathers fly over their heads and about the room in great numbers, producing with the white dresses and the black background a novel effect. Sharp, full of action, and popular in character.” (Edison Catalog)
Pie Eating Contest
"Two men, with hands tied, are eating huckleberry pies for a wager, direct from the plates. Their faces and shirts are clean when they start. Extra ludicrous when colored."
Dewars Scotch Whisky
In slow motion, a line of giddy, possibly drunk men dressed in Scottish highland outfits perform a disorderly dance routine in front of a sign advertising the product of the title. This film is often incorrectly described as the first filmed advertisement.
Tramp hired to beat the carpet accidentally beats the housewife.
A Bowery Cafe
This is a Bowery barroom. A tough girl comes in for a pail of beer. While the bartender is serving her, a loafer steals the free lunch and puts it in his hat. The girl goes out and the loafer orders a drink; but not having the money to pay for it, he gets instead the contents of a siphon bottle squirted in his face.
A man comes in for a shave in this film of a popular stage act.
Paysans à Paris
A comedy skit with drinking and animal tricks.
Hanging Out the Clothes
Lovers are comically interrupted
The Maid in the Garden
Master kisses maid behind a blanket on the clothes line and is seen by his wife.