Best Comedy Movies of 1901
The Big Swallow
A man, objecting to being filmed, comes closer and closer to the camera lens until his mouth is all we see. Then he opens wide and swallows camera and cinematographer. He steps back, chews, and grins.
The Magician's Cavern
A very enthusiastic magician performs several tricks.
What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City
A street level view from the sidewalk, looking along the length of 23rd Street. Following actuality footage of pedestrians and street traffic, the actors, a man in summer attire and a woman in an ankle-length dress, walk toward the camera.
The Countryman and the Cinematograph
A satire on the way that audiences unaccustomed to the cinema didn't know how to react to the moving images on a screen - in this film, an unsophisticated (and stereotypical) country yokel is alternately baffled and terrified, in the latter case by the apparent approach of a steam train.
A Holiday Pageant at Home
A few days before the Christmas holiday, a large family decides to put on a home-made play as part of their holiday together. The mother writes the play, and the children practice it. When they are ready, they enact first a prologue and then the play.
A lad from a butcher shop is carrying a tray laden with a roast or a leg of lamb. A hobo grabs it and runs. The boy gives chase, joined by dogs, as neighbors watch the spectacle. The hobo jumps into a large rain barrel, followed by the dogs.
The Trick Cyclist
Shows a tramp enter and try to ride a wheel, from which he makes some very ludicrous falls and gives up in despair, after which an artist enters and jumps rope on a wheel. A very laughable subject.
Kansas Saloon Smashers
A gilded saloon, with a fancy bar, forms the background. A nobby bartender with white coat and apron is dispensing drinks to customers. Behind him are polished plate glass mirrors. A comical Irishman enters, sets a huge pail on the bar to be filled, and while he is drinking a glass of foam beer, Mrs. Nation and her followers enter with their hatchets. One of the women jams the Irishman's stiff hat down over his eyes and another one douses him with his own pail of beer. They then wreck the saloon and smash the mirrors, bottles, cash register and bar fixtures. The bartender plays a stream of seltzer water on Mrs. Nation, and as she backs away from behind the counter, a policeman enters and hustles everybody out. Full of comedy from start to finish. (Edison Catalog)
Two Rubes at the Theatre
This picture shows the interior of a well-known theatre. Two hayseeds occupy the front seats and an idea can be gained of the merits of the play by their facial expressions. They indulge in peanuts and apples during the performance, to the amusement of the occupants of the seats surrounding them. Excruciatingly funny.
The Old Maid in the Horsecar
A female impersonator giggles and flirts. By the following decade, many female impersonators would be shown doing their acts on the stage and in the movies; the Eltinge Theater on 42nd Street in New York is named for Julian Eltinge, the most famous of them. This was probably the earliest "name" example for the movies. Gilbert Saroni plays an exceedingly ugly woman who coyly flirts with her fan.