See the moving  

Figure 4.25

Shifting Perspectives on Dalliance

The Gay Shoe Clerk

Edwin S. Porter, Edison Manufacturing Co., USA, 1903

Accompanied by a chaperone, a young woman enters a shoe store (left), where the clerk is only too glad to help her into a dainty slipper (center). Reckoning the chaperone to be immersed in her newspaper, he begins fondling the customerís calf (right) and, meeting no resistance, advances to kissing her. At that point, the chaperone glances up, spies the couple in mid-dalliance, and pummels the clerk with her umbrella. Note that the closeup of the clerkís hand on the womanís foot retains the frontal perspective of the camera rather than assuming the point of view of the clerk. We can conclude, therefore, that the insert of the shapely ankle has been concocted for the voyeuristic edification of the viewer, who, unlike the clerk, can look without fear of chastisement. Interestingly, the same shot makes it clear that itís the woman who raises her own skirtómore than amply, it would seem. Does she enjoy being the object of voyeuristic pleasure (equally on the part of both clerk and spectator), or does she take some slightly sadistic satisfaction in enticing the clerk into a humiliating position (whereby he is the object of a joke that the woman is playing on the spectatorís behalf)?

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