How Monsieur Takes His Bath (1903)
Alternate Title: Comment Monsieur prend son ban
This is a short trick film from Alice Guy, using techniques pioneered by Georges Méliès to have some fun at the expense of its main character. We’ve seen its like before, but it is very well done.
A man is alone in a room, with a bathtub next to him. He begins to disrobe, but when he puts his pants down, suddenly a new suit appears on his body. He tries again, and the same thing happens. He tries to accelerate, momentarily getting far enough ahead that he can take off his pants and jacket, but soon he has dozens of layers on and the movie ends with him wearing more clothes than he had at the beginning.
Given that this sort of movie had been around for 6 years, one might think that audiences would expect something more, but I have to note that, compared to the earlier Méliès films, the edits on this are quite precise and the man doesn’t seem to hop around due to jump cuts. Guy has been in the business for just about as long now, and has obviously learned her craft. Even the clothes he takes off pile up realistically as he throws them aside, not moving around or randomly disappearing due to continuity errors. The movie may not be a breakthrough, but it is a reasonable success. Two observations about the language: First, Guy deliberately uses titillating language in the title, as in “How Bridget Served the Salad undressed.” Second, there really is no English equivalent to the French word “Monsieur” here (“How Sir Takes a Bath” doesn’t work t all!).
Director: Alice Guy
Camera: Unknown (possibly Alice Guy)
Starring: Ferdinand Zecca
Run Time: 1 Min
You can watch it for free: here.