Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Dogs

Dog Factory (1904)

This movie is a reversal on a common theme that started out with the Lumière brothers in the earliest days of cinema. Here, it is done by director Edwin S. Porter for the Edison Film Company in the year following his dramatic success with “The Great Train Robbery.”

Dog FactoryThe stage is hung with loops of sausage, each of which is labeled with the name of a dog (“spaniel,” “setter,” “pointer,” etc). At the center is a large box which is labeled “Patent DOG Transformator.” Two men attend the machine. Various characters come in with dogs, and have them reduced to sausages, to make sure we understand how it works (this is typical from the Lumière, Guy, and other versions). Next, a series of funny characters come in without dogs, and the men at the machine select a loop of sausage to add to the machine, and – voila! – a dog of the type chosen appears. The dogs are matched to the personality of their owners, ie a very proper lady receives a neatly groomed terrier, while a foppish gent takes a spaniel. At the end, a ruffian comes in and gets a bulldog, but he’s not tough enough, so the men create a “fighting bull” and the scene devolves into chaos between the dogs and the humans fighting each other.

Dog Factory1A couple of interesting points, here. Several of the previous movies suggested that sausages were made out of dogs and other unsavory items, but this is the first to suggest that they can be turned back into dogs if not eaten first. It seems like a better movie for dog-lovers, for sure! The original catalog entry says that the men running the machine are “Germans,” which may represent a prejudice of the time about Germans’ eating habits (like jokes today about Koreans ostensibly eating dogs), or it just may be because Germans eat sausage and are associated with mechanical inventiveness.

Animals in Film blogathonThis has been my contribution to the “Animals in Film” Blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. Dog lovers, and animal lovers of all sorts should head over and check out the other posts!

Director: Edwin S. Porter

Camera: Edwin S. Porter

Starring: Unknown

Run Time: 4 Min, 15 secs

You can watch it for free: here (no music) or here (with music).

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Miss Dundee and Her Performing Dogs (1902)

Alternate Title: Miss Dundee et ses chiens savants

This is a typical “Age of Attractions” film of a sideshow or circus act, scaled down for the camera, allowing people who might be in distant locations to see a performance that previously had to be visited in person. Director Alice Guy gives us only a few minutes of what was probably a much longer act in person, but the time is well used.

Miss Dundee Performing DogsMiss Dundee appears on a stage with several of her dogs on various stands, wearing a variety of costumes. She is attired in tights and a slight outfit – very revealing for 1902. An assistant bring out an easel and canvas. She begins to paint on it, and this causes one dog to jump down and stand on his hind legs, looking like he is begging. This dog is dressed in a jacket, like a dinner jacket or something the British upper class might wear in a men’s club. Miss Dundee notices him, leans over as if to speak with him briefly, and summons her assistant again, who brings a staircase that goes up to the easel. The dog climbs the stairs on all fours, gets back up on hind legs, then turns and bows to the audience. He then turns his back and begins to simulate writing or drawing on the board. Here, there is a jump cut (or perhaps some missing frames) and we never see what the dog has drawn or written.

Miss Dundee1From here, the action mostly involves Miss Dundee holding out a rod and directing dogs to jump over or under it while the assistant brings out various platforms for them to leap from. Most of the dogs are small, but one is fairly large, perhaps a Great Dane, who gets jumped over as well as jumping over Miss Dundee, and I believe I saw at least one terrier as well as various sizes and types of poodle. The camera is stationary and the filmmaker leaves it up to Dundee to provide movement and interest. I liked the “painting dog” part best myself, but it’s too bad it was cut off the way it was.

Director: Alice Guy

Camera: Unknown (possibly Alice Guy)

Starring: “Miss” Dundee, various dogs.

Run  Time: 3 Min 20 secs

You can watch it for free: here.