Director: Émile Cohl
Release Date: 1909
Rating: ★★½

Les chapeaux des belles dames © Émile Cohl‘Les chapeaux des belles dames’ is one of Émile Cohl’s tableau films.

Whereas Cohl’s other tableau films from 1909, like ‘L’éventail animé‘ and ‘Les couronnes‘ consisted of elaborate tableaux vivants, ‘Les chapeaux des belles dames’ is much simpler. The film only shows several ladies wearing hats from different ages. Within a vignette we watch the bustes of the ladies circling around, showing the hats from all sides. Thus we watch hats from 1400 to 1825, with emphasis on the 15th and 18th century (strangely enough the 17th century is skipped altogether).

The whole film may be insightful, the short is remarkably static, and only entertaining because of the sometimes extraordinary hats. It doesn’t help that the surviving copy is badly damaged, rendering some of the images more or less invisible.

Watch ‘Les chapeaux des belles dames’ yourself and tell me what you think:


‘Les chapeaux des belles dames’ is available on the DVDs ‘Émile Cohl – L’agitateur aux mille images’