Bout de Zan Steals an Elephant

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 1, 2015

In addition to that lovely young elephant, the best thing here, again, is the authenticity of the street scenes. This of course is the thing for which Feuillade would become most celebrated, when he started making those historic serials. Back to the elephant: the meeting of a person and a wild animal can never be completely contrived (even when the elephant trained). The kid, Bout de Zan, is cute, but this film suffers the fate of so many novelty pieces. The novelty element knocks it fatally out of whack, and the lunatic (gimmick) ends up running the asylum (the film).

Kino Lorber is probably justified in including just one Bout de Zan film in this compilation. It’s a survey they’re after, and not comprehensiveness. Still, this character and the films in which he appeared (along with Feuillade’s Bebé series, which is not excerpted here at all) were very important in the history of kids in films. Griffith too, in his Biograph productions. There’s always more to learn and see!