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“Rest in Pieces”

Mary Jane’s Mishap, or Don’t Fool with the Paraffin

G.A. Smith, Great Britain, 1903

Mary Jane blew herself to smithereens when she put paraffin in the stove (see Figure 5.11 and Figure 8.13), and Smith uses the insert of her tombstone (left) primarily to integrate his little verbal gag—“Rest in Pieces.” Interestingly, the placement of the insert prior to the medium long shot of the visitors to the cemetery (right) reverses the usual sequence of establishing shot followed by a closer shot of some detail. Smith’s shot order, however, sets up his final gag—the superimposition of Mary Jane’s ghost and the flight of the frightened mourners.

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