- Director: George Albert Smith
- Starring: Tom Green, Laura Bayley
- Year: 1900
- Runtime: 1m
- Available on YouTube
A poor wretch of a man wakes from a dream about partying with a pretty younger woman to find, in a hi-larious twist, that his arms are around his older, dowdier wife who wants nothing to do with his affections.
How his wife hates him so! Ha ha ha!
The film uses the first dissolve in the history of cinema to create this shocking juxtaposition between the dream world and the real.
In doing so, it asks us to consider the tragedy of fate that has led our poor protagonist to his present unpleasant predicament.
It wants us to imagine the cascade of sorrows that the universe has brought down upon him that he, powerless to resist them, should end up so miserable that his only escape is through dreams.
Would that there was something he could have done, some action he could have taken in his many years of marriage, to prevent such a gulf between his dreams and his reality.
Smith’s innovation is important and remains a fundamental part of the language of cinema.
It is worth nothing, however, that his contemporary, Georges Méliès, came at this nascent medium with a wacky experimental exuberance and was able to develop ideas and techniques without relying on a boring, misogynistic joke that itself was centuries old when the film was made.
The random clown costume is the first scene is fun, though.