As Nerdy History Girls, we look everywhere for clues to the past - even to a racy 1890s film. But if you're reading this at work, fear not: this clip is SFW viewing. While Le Coucher de la Mariée (Bedtime for the Bride, also known as The Bridegroom's Dilemma) is described as one of the earliest erotic films made, the erotic part has apparently deteriorated into nonexistence while in the care of the French Film Archives. When it was rediscovered in 1996, only the first minutes of the film remained.
So why share it here? This fragment shows a saucy bride banishing her groom to behind a screen while she undresses. . . and undresses. It may not be a very seductive performance to modern eyes, but she does demonstrate exactly how many layers of clothing and undergarments a Frenchwoman wore in 1896. No wonder the groom begins to read a newspaper in boredom!
The film was produced by Eugène Pirou and directed by Albert Kirchner (using the pseudonym Léar), and was first shown in Paris in November, 1896. Film scholars guess that the original film was about seven minutes long, but what happened between the flirtatious bride and groom in those missing five minutes must now be left to the imagination. Imagine away... and enjoy these amusing first two minutes that remain.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.