See the moving picture

FIGURE 9.1

Partners in Crime

Un Tour de monde d’un policier (A Detective’s Tour of the World)

Charles Lucien-Lépine, Pathé-Frères, France, 1906

In Shot 1, a studio set of an outdoor café along the Suez Canal, the detective (right) sits at the same table as the criminal, who slips him a mickey, takes his arrest warrant, and has him arrested. Having boarded a ship on another set (2), the criminal looks through a pair of binoculars; the image in (3), which reveals what he sees, consists of actualité footage taken on the bank of the real Canal (masked to simulate an image seen through binoculars). With (4)—actualité footage of a religious procession in India—the chase arrives (according to a title card) in Calcutta. It then cuts abruptly to Bombay (as we’re informed by another title card), where the criminal runs onto the set of a pagoda (5) and then escapes, just before the detective arrives to gather some information and gesture with determination toward the camera (6). After a few more adventures, the two characters find themselves “on location” in America (it’s actually in France), where the detective is shot by “red skins” (7). Fortunately, the wound isn’t fatal, and the unconscious detective is rescued by none other than his antagonist. Having returned to France, the two men meet in a studio-set office (8), where the criminal (left) extends a written offer of a partnership (information imparted in the next shot by an insert of the letter). The film climaxes with an apotheosis finale, with the two new partners advancing to the foreground of the set to seal their deal with a handshake (9).

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