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A Race for a Kiss (Hepworth, 1904)

A Race for a Kiss (Hepworth, 1904)
Directed by Lewin Fitzhamon
Starring Dolly Lupone

I recently watched a bunch of early Hepworth comedies. None of them being more than a few hundred feet long, you can get through a fair number in an hour’s time. Some were good, some were staggeringly bad, but by far and away the best I saw was A Race for a Kiss (1904).

A man riding a horse and a man driving a car are both vying for the same woman (Dolly Lupone). To avert a fight when the two meet, the woman proposes a race — the winner to receive a kiss. They speed down the road, with the man in the car leading at times, the man on the horse at others, and finally they’re neck and neck. Then a policeman pulls the motorist over for speeding and the horseman wins by default.

It’s a single joke film, like most of them are, but it stretches out the setup long enough that you appreciate the punch-line when it arrives, and further, it has the good sense to end after the joke is told. It might seem like the obvious way to structure a joke film, but it’s one many of the others failed to figure out.

My rating: I like it.