[La Légende de Rip Van Vinckle]



[La Légende de Rip Van Vinckle]

Rip's Dream

1. Before the “George the Third Inn”.-The scene shows the inn to the left, with tables neatly arranged, around which some village worthies are discussing local gossip. In the distance the peaks of the lovely Kaatskill Mountains may by seen. The village maidens dance merrily, and their jollity is heightened by the antics of a simpleton clothed in rags. This latter is very fond of Rip and afterwards renders valuable assistance to him when beset with difficulties. The maidens retire and Rip comes down a rustic staircase and takes his seat before the inn. His wife, Dame Van Winkle, leads out her two pretty children and Rip caresses them while holding them on his knees. As soon as the crowd congregates about Rip to hear his funny stories, the sheriff, Derrick, who has been sitting at another table on the right of the scene calls Rip aside and informs him that he must go to prison if he has not the money to pay his taxes. Rip at first tries to appear perplexed as to how he is going to raise the money, but presently he winks significantly and produces a bag of silver. He is very careful to exact a receipt from the tricky sheriff, who is determined to get Rip out of the way so as to make love to the latter’s pretty wife. The sheriff opens the bag and discovers that the pieces are very old and must have been stolen from some treasure. So he calls in the soldiers to carry Rip off to prison. A mêlée follows, and through the invervention of his numerous friends Rip manages to escape and flees to his old haunts-the fastnesses of the mountains.

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2. The Pursuit.-Rip first appears upon the scene which is laid among the densely wooded slopes of the mountain side. Hurrying among rocks and entangled underbrush, he makes his way to a secret cave. Hardly has he bad the time to hide himself in the cave when the soldiers sent forth in pursuit of him under the leadership of the sheriff advance, keeping step together. As they have lost all trace of him in this locality. They go away in another direction, hoping there to find the object of their quest. In their turn, the friends of Rip, men, women and children, under the guidance of his faithful wife, Dame Van Winkle, after having provided themselves with lanterns, set forth at nightfall to find the fugitive hiding in the forest. They pass and repass at a rapid gait before his hiding-place while calling out for him at the top of their lungs. But Rip does not disclose himself for he supposes that they are anxious to prevent him from pursuing his search for the hidden wealth upon which he counts so much. So he remains quiet.
Finally, his friends give up all hope of finding him. They disappear by the tortuous paths of the mountain, calling and running as they go. They are followed by Rip’s youngest child, a little tot, carrying in its hands a lantern far larger than its own body. As soon as everybody has gone away, Rip emerges from this vine-covered hiding place and begins to dig again for more money. But, worn out from fatigue occasioned by his rapid flight up the mountain, he throws his pick aside and falls to the ground exhausted. Presently he is fast asleep.

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3. Rip’s Dream.-A cry, “Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!” reverberates through the forest. He awakes, lifts up his head, and sees a strange little man in a jerkin, with a keg on his shoulder come bounding down to the path along which Rip is lying. He beckons to Rip, then he helps him up, and after making promises of showing him a larger and richer treasure hidden in another part of the Kaatskill mountains, he leads poor Rip away up the steep and rocky hillsides. As they go along, the gnome occasionally hurls a big ball down the slope. As it crashes down into the valley, the echoing sounds return with such terrific peals that Rip thinks it is the cause of the thunder which is often heard in these regions.

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4. The Amphitheatre.-They arrive at a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which impending trees shoot their branches so that one only catches glimpses of the azure sky. The gnome steps into the amphitheatre and begins to turn somersaults, when suddenly he is changed into a huge, grotesque serpent which wriggles about with the most marvelous reality. Rip seizes an axe and chops the serpent into three pieces, but wonderful to relate, these parts continue to twist about with the same vigor as at first. Rip stands amazed. Presto! the three parts of the snake are transformed into gnomes. They dance wildly for a moment; two disappear, the third is changed into the original little-man-of-the-mountain who first appeared to Rip in his dream. The latter now grasps hold of the gnome’s hand and is borne away to the spot where the pirates’ loot lies buried.

5. The Treasure.-The scene which now flashes upon the screen is another part of the mountain, even wilder and rockier than before. The gnome points to crevices in the rocks and Rip rushes to collect the money. But suddenly ghosts dart up from beneath the hoards of silver.

6. The “Hall Moon” Crew.-They are the crew of the “Half Moon,” and Hendrick Hudson himself is the ghost on the central pedestal of rock. At first Rip thinks it all a joke, but when the ghosts become so numerous, he is paralyzed with terror. He crouches down upon a stone in his perplexity, alone in this weird spot. Presently a lovely woman enters with a large drinking-cup and pitcher. She pours out a liquid and presents it to Rip to sip. In his fondness for drink, he drains the bowl and falls almost instantly to the ground, heavy with sleep. While he is closing his eyes, some of the ghosts unveil themselves, thus showing that they are members of the crew of that famous ship, the “Half Moon.” They come forward, bend over the sleeper’s body and vanish. The potion in the cup proved so strong that the latter lay buried in a death-like slumber for twenty years.

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7. Twenty Years After.- This scene shows a densely wooded forest. The trunks stand together, and the branches are so closely interwoven as to be almost impenetrable. In the foreground, down in one corner, there is a movement among the underbrush, and lo, and aged man with long hair and beard is seen to be in the act of disentangling himself from the leaves and branches which have been accumulating for a score of years. It is Rip. He leans upon his gun which, having rotted, collapses under him. After getting upon his feet he winds his way out from this lonely forest and seeks the village where his friends, his wife and children are living.

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8. Sad Recollections.-He comes down the steps leading to the “George the Third Inn,” where he had spent so many idle hours in days of yore, drinking and chatting with men, women and children. He is astonished to find in place of the rickety old wooden bridge a solid one of stone, and that the old inn has become a fine new structure and known as the “George the Third Hotel.” The people of the place know him no more, everybody pushes him aside, and when he tries to explain himself he is rebuffed.
He sees his daughter; she bears such a resemblance to his wife, that he mistakes her for this termagant spouse. In his efforts to embrace her, he is pushed off his feet. He craves for a drink for he is almost dying of thirst. His daughter points to the well-Rip draws a bucket of water, but when he stoops to drink, he starts back at seeing the reflection of an old man in the glassy surface of the liquid. He insists upon talking to people; his story is so strange that he is declared a nuisance and he is thrown out of the place by an impatient crowd.

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9. ‘Twas but a Dream.-the scene is exactly the same as number two. Rip is lying asleep by the path where he had fallen from exhaustion just after he had emerged from his cave and had begun to dig for more treasure. “Simple Simon,” who was so fond of him, comes down the slope with lantern in hand looking vainly for him. He stumbles over Rip’s body in his quest. He shakes Rip and makes him get up. His dream has been so vivid that the spirits still seem to haunt his vision. He draws his mantle to shield his eyes from their baneful gaze, but “Simple Simon” tells him that he has only been dreaming and he is reassured.

10. Home Again! Simon drags him back to the town. His wife and children are overjoyed at his safe return. All embrace him and when Rip says that he had fallen asleep up on the mountain and has had such an awful dream, which showed the results of drunkenness, that would never again drink another drop of liquor, they shout for joy.

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MEL 1905-A


1 Méliès 756-775  
2 Georges Méliès   
3 1905 405m/1086ft
4 France  


The New York Clipper
Rip's Dream
FranceParis, Grands Magasins Dufayel
Cinématographe La Légende de Rip