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Crosscutting on the Melodramatic

The Physician of the Castle / A Narrow Escape

Pathé-Frères, France, 1908

Shown here are 9 of the 31 shots of which the film is composed. Two men send a false telegram to the doctor’s house (Shot 3 is an insert: “Come immediately to the castle. Child very sick”). Then they hide while the telegram is delivered (Shot 6). The doctor reads the telegram (8) and sets out for the castle (11). The men entice the maid outside and stab her—a scene witnessed through the window by the doctor’s wife (14), who barricades the door. Meanwhile, the doctor arrives at the castle (17), where the inhabitants, though surprised by his visit, allow him to examine one of their children (18). Back at the doctor’s house, his wife and son have barricaded themselves in the study, where she phones her husband (23). We see the doctor on his end of the phone, and then he rushes out to return home, stopping to pick up two policemen on the way (28). As the rescuers arrive at the house, the villains burst into the study, seizing the wife and child just before the doctor and policemen rush in and overpower them (30).

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