Media item

Fight of nations

Film from the Paper Print Collection of the Library of Congress.


Part 1: In "Mexico and Spain," a man dressed as a Mexican peasant spies on a happy young woman and her suitor, who wears a fancy Spanish, matador-style outfit. The woman dances for her companion, then the couple embrace and sit on a stone bench, holding hands. The jealous peasant rises from his hiding place to stab his rival, but the woman grabs his arm and stops him. The two men engage in a fierce knife fight, with the woman at one point helping her suitor regain his lost weapon. The Spaniard finally disarms his opponent, but consents to the woman's begging and spares the peasant's life. -- "Our Hebrew Friends" opens to a street set with a painted backdrop of storefronts. A man apparently identified as Jewish through his dark hair and full beard argues with a Jewish necktie peddler. The argument soon escalates into a shoving match, through which a portly gentleman tries to pass. A third man, also apparently Jewish, happens upon the scene and soon joins the fight. The three men turn in a circle kicking each other until a policeman arrives and breaks them apart. The third man draws the officer aside with an offer of a bribe, which the policeman happily accepts. The money, however, is apparently taken back secretly when the two shake hands, and the three men rejoice after the policeman walks off.

Part 2: "'Hoot mon!' A Scottish Combat" opens with the end of a duel between two uniformed men in kilts as one falls to the ground wounded. A third kilted man enters and sees the fallen man, and in turn fights with the victor with swords and shields. The third man ultimately disarms his opponent and stands victorious with his foot upon the man's chest. -- "Sunny Africa, Eighth Avenue, New York" takes place in an African-American dance hall. After a dance number, a young man in a cap and striped shirt sits for a drink with his female companion. He is soon induced, however, to perform an energetic tap dance as the other patrons watch and clap. When he is motioned outside after the dance, an older suited gentleman notices his absence and introduces himself to the young woman, who invites him to sit down. They have a drink and are dancing a lively cakewalk when the young man returns and angrily breaks them apart. The two men draw large knives and fight, until the woman and a waiter finally separate them. Smiling, the young man and his lady cakewalk out the door.

Part 3: "Sons of the Ould Sod" opens on a set of a two-story tenement. A woman hangs clothes on a line from an upper window as her husband returns home with a pail of beer. The man next door--who, like the husband, is balding with full sideburns and a beard--sits on a bench in front of the building and reads a newspaper. The woman accidentally drops a wet sheet on the neighbor's head, prompting a battle of words and shaken fists between the angry man on the street and her husband in the window above. When the husband dumps what appears to be sawdust, the neighbor retaliates by drenching him with a hose until the woman breaks a barrel over his head. The husband comes downstairs and the fight becomes a brawl between the two men. The woman finally ends the battle by bringing out a bucket of beer and pouring drinks for the weary men, who laugh and toast each other. -- Closes with "America, The Land of the Free," on a set of a grand staircase decorated with various flags and the American eagle, and two large U.S. flags draped on either side. In pairs, different characters descend the staircase and happily introduce themselves: a dark-haired man in uniform and a woman in black lace (perhaps representing the French), a bearded man in a different uniform and a woman in a white gown (perhaps representing Russia), a very stout older gentleman bearing the British flag on his shirt, and the Spaniard and Mexican from the earlier scene. A young Native American woman hurries down the stairs and kneels center stage with her head bowed. Closes with two young U.S. soldiers flanking the entrance of Uncle Sam, who is cheered by all.

Filmed Jan. 17, 19, and 23-24, 1906, in the Biograph New York City studio

See also the entry for this film on the Library of Congress American Memory website

American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Publication date:
18 February 1907


G.W. &quot
Bitzer (camera)
Original format:
Library of Congress