The Race for the Sausage (1907)
Alternate Title: La course à la saucisse
There seems to be some dispute online as to whether this was made by Louis Feuillade or Alice Guy, but Gaumont has included it on their release of Guy’s movies, so I will presume they know whereof they speak. It’s possible Feuillade was present as an assistant; this is the year that he took over production from Guy when she moved to the USA to start her Solax company.
The film is a standard “chase movie,” ala “How a French Nobleman Got a Wife…” In this case, the subject of pursuit is a small dog who grabs a link of sausage from a store and winds up dragging the whole chain of them behind as the owners and customers of the shop pursue. As he runs, his sausage links get tangled in various people’s legs and other people are knocked over by the pursuers, resulting in an ever-increasing range of characters running after the fast-moving chain. There are house painters, some people in bedclothes, a group of drunks, a farmer with a pitchfork, and a maid, as well as various non-descript citizens. The chase ends when the dog runs toward a hunter in a field, who raises his gun as if to shoot the dog, which runs past as his gun goes off and various pursuers run onto the screen. The chasers stop and pick up the sausage – the hunter has shot into the chain and allowed the dog to run off while most of the sausage stays behind. The various pursuers now begin to eat the sausage.
The movie begins and ends with a close-up on the dog (at the end, with three sausages in his mouth). This style reminded me of the bookend close-ups of “The Great Train Robbery,” but here it serves to assure us that the dog got away all right. Most of the movie is shot on location outdoors, but it doesn’t look like the streets of Paris to me, more like a village in the French countryside, or at least a suburb. The movie is not especially brilliant – just a standard chase comedy, but it’s worth noting that only a couple of years ago most of Guy’s movies consisted of a single unedited shot with at most 5-8 actors, while now she is spending far more time and money on the product, and even hiring trained animals.
Director: Alice Guy (possibly with help from Louis Feuillade)
Camera: Unknown, possibly Alice Guy or Anatole Thiberville
Run Time: 4 Min, 15 secs
You can watch it for free: here.