Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Boy and His Atom


First there was The Kiss (1896). May Irwin and John C. Rice cuddle, snuggle, then he grooms his huge mustache and plants a great big smackeroo on her lips. Total elapsed time, about forty seconds.

Then there was Little Egypt (also 1896), a real epic in comparison. Fatima Djamile recreates her famous Coochee Coochee Dance from the Chicago World’s Fair. Running time, a little over one minute. It’s also the first movie to be censored.

Now we have this one, the newest entry into the extremely short movie category, but this one also happens to be the SMALLEST movie ever made. The studio was a couple dozen atoms wide and broad, and one atom thick. What you see is magnified 100,000,000 times.

So, how does it stack up, artistically? I’m sorry to say that it has the same weakness of the other two. Story, story, STORY! Hard to get emotionally involved with what is basically a souped-up game of PONG. Would it have killed them to hire a good screenwriter like, say, William Goldman? You could pay him 100,000,000th of his usual fee. Then get a good director, like Martin Scorsese, and a good SFX man like Douglas Trumbull. Three-D, Dolby 12-channel sound, scoring by John Williams. And stretch it out to a reasonable length. Say, two minutes. Then you might have something.

It’s also a little sexist. Where’s the girl? What I wonder about, though, is how this whole new medium might go the way those earlier films did. What is Little Egypt, after all, but 19th century porn?

I can see some problems. Casting, for instance. Where would you find the inverse of John “Johnny Wadd” Holmes? The man with the smallest penis in the world. And would he perform under that label? Embarrassing.

Here is A Boy and His Atom in its entirety, one minute and thirty-four seconds, including credits:

Here’s the “Making of” video. It’s almost four times as long as the movie.