Fall 1958 • Vol. XX No. 4 Nonfiction |

Film Letter: On the Cult of Displaced Laughter

It has been more than half a century since the medium of moving photography was able to furnish one of its first thrills of eroticism. The Kiss (which lasted a minute), and one of its first thrills of fantasy, A Trip to the Moon. Eroticism and Fantasy are the twinlike realms of filmic eloquence chosen respective!y by the editors of two recently published, historically impressive books of "stills."1 These volumes are notable for both exhaustive research among the films of the world and the air given the movies of being something that shifts easily and amusingly back and forth from horror to lust, fantasy to fun, and science to sex. Of course, observers of society on one side and cineastes from the other, with plain movie fans between, have long been familiar with the phenomena rather elegantly exploited by the two albums, which originate in France and whose captions are French. One finds that a little French, even of the college-learned kind, goes a long way through these pictorial l

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