Four Beautiful Pairs

USA 1904. Dir A.E. Weed, A.E. Weed for American Mutoscope and Biograph.

Four beautiful Pairs (1904) was produced by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co., later just the Biograph Company, which is chiefly remembered today for being the studio where motion picture pioneer D. W. Griffith invented much of the grammar of narrative cinema. Essentially a single-sight gag, typical of the company’s early output, the short comedy exploits to full advantage the limitations of the motion picture medium of the period. It is shot a single take, with no tilts or pans, and the tripod-mounted camera remains fixed in position throughout. This singular perspective dictates the viewer’s sight-line precipitating the mechanics of the visual joke. The film also presents an early example of the confluence of the artificial and actual woman, a theme that, with the proliferation of mass production, would play an increasingly central role in the arts and fashion movements of the twentieth century.