A shopkeeper suffers the loss of some valuable merchandise, and thinks of a way to regain his losses.
Cohen's Fire Sale (1907)
|Director||Edwin S. Porter|
(VHS, USA) National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF)
In Cohen's Fire Sale, Cohen is again portrayed as the "scheming merchant." This time a new shipment of hats is accidentally picked up by the trash man. Cohen, made-up in grotesque vaudevillian Jewish style, pursues the trash wagon throughout New York picking up the hats as they drop off. When he finds the hats are not selling, Cohen reads his insurance policy, arranges for an "accidental" fire, and afterwards holds a fire sale. At the end of the film, Cohen sits happily holding the insurance policy as he places a large ring on his wife's finger.
Source: National Center for Jewish Film
The stereotyping and underlying anti-Semitism aside, the film is pretty well made. There is a clear storyline throughout, and it really shows that they invested quite some money in making this. Not many early films like this that I've seen that involve the fire department in full action like here. There are lots of scenes, clips, and even the close-up in the end, that make it a more varied and more entertaining watch. The story is funny, it could be any shopowner - not necessarily a Jewish one, and the comedic value would be the same.