Figure 9.21

Subverting Class Subconsciousness

Max Hypnotizé (Max Hypnotized)

Lucien Nonguet, Pathé-Frères, France, 1910

Upon learning that their incorrigibly lazy boss is about to be married, his maid and valet are aghast at the idea of an innocent young girl falling into Max’s idle hands. Determined to force a change of mind on the part of his prospective in-laws, they hit upon the idea of hypnotizing him into acting in ways that will be unacceptable to a respectable bourgeois couple. They begin with a few practice sessions in which their employer is induced to trade places with his manservant (Max ends up dusting his own furniture while the servant smokes his cigar and reads his newspaper). Finally, as Max and the girl’s parents are about to finalize the matrimonial transaction, Max is turned into a dog who wreaks canine-like havoc until he’s led out of the room. Having reduced Max in both social and biological status, the two servants then proceed to appropriate the happy ending that Max had in mind for himself: the valet proposes to the maid, and they depart arm in arm.

Back to CHAPTER 9/Part 2