Thursday, January 19, 2012

Algie, the Miner (1912)

Nice poster, eh?

Anyhow, Algie is a foppish dandy who, in order to earn the hand in marriage of his love, must prove himself a man inside of one year. So, sporting the seasons best in western wear, he joins a rugged mining crew to gain the respect of his prospective father-in-law.

What makes this ten minute silent film interesting isn't that Algie is some fish out of water. He completely embraces his life in the wilderness. It's that he is the G.A.Y. No, it's not spelled out, exactly, but seriously, did it have to? Getting off the train, he thanks a couple men who give him directions by kissing them. Algie, the Miner is considered the first gay movie character ever. Interestingly, it was directed by the first ever female movie director, Alice Guy. Uncredited, of course.

So, is it interesting? Funny? Exciting? Original? Except for the reasons sited above, not really. It is worth a look-see as the public domain version is in fairly good shape and it's rather short, but don't expect to be wowed.

Algie returns with his mining comrades and he claims his stake with his woman. So, what are we to think? Is homosexuality is a condition that can be cured? Or is sexual orientation and individual character not mutually exclusive? Discuss. AMRU 3.

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