Sonntag, 20. November 2016

Harry Graham (4)

In »At the Cinema« aus »The World we laugh in« (1924) beschreibt Harry Graham den Kinobesuch in Zeiten des Stummfilms und gibt einige noch heute bedenkenswerte Ratschläge:
Harry Graham: At the Cinema

I love »The Pictures,« I admit;
'Tis pleasant in the dark to sit
And watch those phantom figures flit
   Across the screen before you!
For films are things that entertain
Without imposing any strain
Upon the intellect or brain,
   And if perchance they bore you,
Your eyelids you can always close
And sink into a peaceful doze!

I love each thrilling »Episode«
Where cow-boys gallop down the road,
Where trains collide, and mines explode –
   At least two stunts a minute!
With joy I hail the mountain-trail,
The court-house scene within the jail,
Where blows so very fierce a gale
   That ev'rybody's in it;
I love those »boudoirs« where a draught
Sweeps like a tempest, fore and aft!

I like to see the villain pack
Some struggling maiden in a sack,
And tie her to the railroad track
   Or to the engine's buffer.
You'll notice that she dropped her glove?
'Twill be discovered by her »love,«
And from some handy bridge above
   He'll leap upon that »puffer«!
Yes, here he comes! He jumps! You shriek!
(»A further Episode next week.«)

It is a golden rule to make
At Cinemas, for others' sake,
That if you can't remain awake –
   A harmless peccadillo –
You are not thereby justified
In thinking Nature has supplied
The person sitting at your side
   As a convenient pillow;
The habit you must always check
Of snoring down your neighbour's neck!

And don't assume, as many do,
That nobody can read but you,
And chant the printed captions through
   To all the people near you.
By spelling out the written text
To folks you happen to sit next
You only make them cross and vexed –
   They do not want to hear you –
And prove yourself the kind of man
Unfit to be a »movie-fan.«

When films appear upon the screen
That you already may have seen,
Do credit those you sit between
   With some imagination!
And don't anticipate the plot
Describing how the villain's shot,
Or telling what the hero's got
   To save the situation.
They know as well as you, my friend,
That films must have a happy end!

And lastly (since one must be curt)
A Cinema, let me assert,
Is not the place in which to flirt
   With friends – still less with strangers!
For though it's nice, I understand,
Inspired by darkness and a band,
To hold a fellow-creature's hand,
   The practice has its dangers;
For suddenly the lights come on,
And Gee! your reputation's gone!

A friend of mine, not long ago,
Was sitting at a movie-show;
A girl he thought he didn't know
   Was in the seat beside him;
And when, just merely for a lark,
He took adventage of the dark
To make an amorous remark,
   She turned and coldly eyed him;
He had the shock of his young life –
She was (need I explain?) his wife!

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