film 74 of 103

A Scrap in Black and White

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 28, 2015

As has been very well documented, there were lot of boxing films in the earliest years of the medium. This one is very striking. Is it a generic revision? Parody? Whatever was intended, what they actually made is very sweet, and socially striking. The black kid wins! At the end the combatants go down in a clinch, and the adult handlers—the seriousness with which they execute their work is part of the joke—douse them both with water. Without malice (not always true with the Edison films!) too. At this point we get the obligatory early film knee slapping, reacting with hilarity to help the audience laugh as well.  Except it looks like the knee-slappers and these kids are really, actually laughing. Also, a sharp print, of a very pretty, sunny day.