? The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor

Director:

P. Stow

Producer:

P. Stow

Year:

1907

Distributor:

Kleine Optical Co.

Country:

United Kingdom

Running time:

156 ft

Genre:

Comedy

Format:

Silent, B&W

Availability:

Lost film

Keywords:

Absent-minded professor, music, stereotype
Summary
Realizing that he's late for his own music recital, a music professor rushes out of his house, leaving his wife and his best friend behind, who immediately engage in a wild, adulterous afffair. However, the professor — being absent-minded — returns home unexpectedly, having forgotten his violin. His wife's lover quickly hides by dangling outside the balcony, until he is rescued by an upstairs neighbor who lets him in her window. Meanwhile, the professor — who is accident-prone as well as absent-minded — accidentally breaks his violin, and returns home to ask his upstairs neighboor if he may borrow hers. The lover must leap out the balcony again, and on it goes for another 90 feet of film or so.
Teaching Notes
Portrayal of professors:
While the image of the professor as a hapless, bumbling and eccentric object of ridicule had long been a stock comic image, this seems to have been the very first film to use the title "absent-minded," which evolved to become the most commonly used academic stereotype in film. Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas defines "Professor" as, "always the learned;" however, had Flaubert lived to see the manner in which they were portrayed in film, he would surely have ammended his satiric definition to "always the absent-minded."